SAT Subject Physics Practice Question 285: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 285

56. The planet Jupiter is 5 times farther from the sun than the earth, and the mass of Jupiter is 300 times the mass of the earth. If FJ is the strength of the gravitational force exerted by the sun on Jupiter, and FE is the strength of the gravitational force exerted by the sun on the earth, what’s the value of the ratio ?

A.
B.
C. 8
D. 12
E. 60

Correct Answer: D

Explanation:

Let M be the mass of the sun, MJ the mass of Jupiter, and ME the mass of Earth. In addition, let RJ denote the distance from the sun to Jupiter and RE the distance from the sun to the earth. We’re told that MJ = 300ME and RJ = 5RE, so using Newton’s law of gravitation, we find that

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