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SAT® Subject Test in Physics

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Comet Characteristics

SATPHY-KGLV5G

The picture below shows a comet at two different positions in its orbit around some star.

The tables below show four different quantities in relation to the energy of the comet-star system–kinetic energy (KE), gravitational potential energy (GPE), speed of comet (Speed), and mechanical energy of system (ME).

Choose the table that is correctly filled in with x's.

Notice that in some boxes for certain quantities neither box is checked, indicating that the particular quantity is the same at both positions. Assume any loss of mass of the comet or the star is insignificant.

A
Posiition 1 Posiition 2
KE greater x
GPE greater x
Speed greater x
ME greater x
B
Posiition 1 Posiition 2
KE greater x
GPE greater x
Speed greater x
ME greater x
C
Posiition 1 Posiition 2
KE greater x
GPE greater x
Speed greater x
ME greater
D
Posiition 1 Posiition 2
KE greater x
GPE greater x
Speed greater x
ME greater
E
Posiition 1 Posiition 2
KE greater x
GPE greater x
Speed greater x
ME greater