Question

The Andromeda galaxy is at a distance of 2.1 X 10^22 m from our Galaxy. The mass of Andromeda is 6 X 10^41 kg and the mass of our Galaxy is 4 X 10^41 kg. (a) Gravity accelerates the galaxies toward each other. As reckoned in an inertial reference frame, what is the acceleration of Andromeda? What is the acceleration of our Galaxy? Treat both galaxies as point particles.

I know the answers are 6.0 X 10^-14 m/s^2, 9.1 X 10^-14 m/s^2; I just need help understanding how to solve these problems.

Answer #1

I suggest this as the CG is the reference point for the speeds and
consequent KE's. So it seems proper that it ought to also be the
reference point for the PE. You can solve for x, the CG position
between r, their distance and everything else is given. And you can
solve for M by sum of torques = zero as the two galaxies are not
spiraling around each other in this case.

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