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The distance between the Earth and Mars when the two panets are at opposition varies greatly because of the large eccentricity of Mar's orbit. The perihelion distance of a planet is given by rmin=a(1-e)and the aphelion distance by rmax=a(1+e) where a is the semimajor axis and e is the orbital eccentricity. Find the smallest and largest opposition distances assuming the Earth's orbit is a circle.

  • Astronomy -

    The eccentricity of Mar's orbit is .0934.

    The semi-major axis is 141,643,675 miles.

    Therefore, the perihelion distance is
    r(p) = 141,643,675(1-.0934) = 128,414,418.
    r(a) = 141,643,675(1+.0934) = 154,871,931.

    The mean radius of the earth's orbit is
    r = 92,960,242 miles.

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