Posted by silvia on Monday, December 5, 2011 at 4:44pm.
Mercury has a semimajor axis of 0.367AU and an eccentricity of e=0.206. Calculate its distance to the Sun at perihelion. Remember to use units of AU in your answer.

astronomy/physics  Steve, Monday, December 5, 2011 at 5:02pm
let c be the distance from the center to the focus
let a be the semimajor axis
e = c/a
c = e*a = .206*.367 = .0756
distance at perihelion = ac = .367  .0756 = 0.291
oh, yeah. AU (duh)

astronomy/physics  drwls, Monday, December 5, 2011 at 5:21pm
semimajor axis = a = 0.367 au
closest distance = (1e)*a = 0.794 a
= 0.291 au
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