Julia K.

asked • 05/07/18

A planet is orbiting a star when the star’s gravity suddenly vanishes. The planet thenheads outward along a straight line. Is Kepler’s second law still obeyed?

A planet is orbiting a star when the star’s gravity suddenly vanishes. The planet then obeys Newton’s First law and heads outward along a straight line. Is Kepler’s second law still obeyed? That is are equal areas swept out in equal intervals of time as the planet moves away?
 
On one side, I believe it is not obeyed since angular momentum is no longer conserved, but at the same time, if the planet is now moving with constant velocity, then it is logical to conclude that it will still sweep out equal areas in equal intervals of time? I am trying to figure out how to support either answer with math, I think that will help me figure it out. Any suggestions would be most appreciated! 

1 Expert Answer

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Philip P. answered • 05/07/18

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Julia K.

thank you so much philip that makes a lot of sense to me! I was just confusing myself when thinking about the angular momentum, which would not be conserved?
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05/08/18

Philip P.

Angular momentum would not be conserved, which seems odd, but so is a star turning off its gravity; so it's not a real situation.
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05/10/18

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