Food 4 Thought #3: Planets and atmospheres
Planets have a so-called
escape velocity: if a particle (or body) is moving away at speed
exceeding the escape velocity, the gravitational pull is not strong
enough to withhold it. The escape velocity is given by where is the gravitational constant, is the mass of the planet to escape from, and
is the distance of the particle/body from the center of the planet.
Assume that particles at the top of an atmosphere follow the Maxwellian
distribution. Discuss the existence of atmospheres around different
kinds (size, mass, temperature) of planets keeping in mind that the
particles collide exchanging energy and momentum.