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Section summary

  • Newton’s universal law of gravitation: Every particle in the universe attracts every other particle with a force along a line joining them. The force is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. In equation form, this is
    F = G mM r 2 , size 12{F=G { { ital "mM"} over {r rSup { size 8{2} } } } } {}

    where F is the magnitude of the gravitational force. G size 12{G} {} is the gravitational constant, given by G = 6 . 674 × 10 –11 N m 2 /kg 2 size 12{G=6 "." "673" times "10" rSup { size 8{"-11"} } `N cdot m rSup { size 8{2} } "/kg" rSup { size 8{2} } } {} .

  • Newton’s law of gravitation applies universally.

Conceptual questions

Action at a distance, such as is the case for gravity, was once thought to be illogical and therefore untrue. What is the ultimate determinant of the truth in physics, and why was this action ultimately accepted?

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Two friends are having a conversation. Anna says a satellite in orbit is in freefall because the satellite keeps falling toward Earth. Tom says a satellite in orbit is not in freefall because the acceleration due to gravity is not 9.80 m /s 2 size 12{9 "." "80"`"m/s" rSup { size 8{2} } } {} . Who do you agree with and why?

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Draw a free body diagram for a satellite in an elliptical orbit showing why its speed increases as it approaches its parent body and decreases as it moves away.

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Newton’s laws of motion and gravity were among the first to convincingly demonstrate the underlying simplicity and unity in nature. Many other examples have since been discovered, and we now expect to find such underlying order in complex situations. Is there proof that such order will always be found in new explorations?

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Problem exercises

(a) Calculate Earth’s mass given the acceleration due to gravity at the North Pole is 9.830 m /s 2 size 12{9 "." "830"`"m/s" rSup { size 8{2} } } {} and the radius of the Earth is 6371 km from center to pole.

(b) Compare this with the accepted value of 5 . 979 × 10 24 kg size 12{5 "." "979" times "10" rSup { size 8{"24"} } `"kg"} {} .

a) 5.979 × 10 24 kg size 12{ {underline {5 cdot "979" times "10" rSup { size 8{"24"} } " kg"}} } {}

b) This is identical to the best value to three significant figures.

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(a) Calculate the magnitude of the acceleration due to gravity on the surface of Earth due to the Moon.

(b) Calculate the magnitude of the acceleration due to gravity at Earth due to the Sun.

(c) Take the ratio of the Moon’s acceleration to the Sun’s and comment on why the tides are predominantly due to the Moon in spite of this number.

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(a) What is the acceleration due to gravity on the surface of the Moon?

(b) On the surface of Mars? The mass of Mars is 6.418 × 10 23 kg size 12{6 "." "418" times "10" rSup { size 8{"23"} } `"kg"} {} and its radius is 3 . 38 × 10 6 m size 12{3 "." "38" times "10" rSup { size 8{6} } `m} {} .

a) 1.62 m / s 2 size 12{1 cdot "62"" m"/s rSup { size 8{2} } } {}

b) 3.75 m / s 2 size 12{1 cdot "62"" m"/s rSup { size 8{2} } } {}

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(a) Calculate the acceleration due to gravity on the surface of the Sun.

(b) By what factor would your weight increase if you could stand on the Sun? (Never mind that you cannot.)

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The Moon and Earth rotate about their common center of mass, which is located about 4700 km from the center of Earth. (This is 1690 km below the surface.)

(a) Calculate the magnitude of the acceleration due to the Moon’s gravity at that point.

(b) Calculate the magnitude of the centripetal acceleration of the center of Earth as it rotates about that point once each lunar month (about 27.3 d) and compare it with the acceleration found in part (a). Comment on whether or not they are equal and why they should or should not be.

a) 3.42 × 10 –5 m / s 2 size 12{3 cdot "42" times "10" rSup { size 8{"-5"} } m/s rSup { size 8{2} } } {}

b) 3.34 × 10 –5 m / s 2 size 12{3 cdot "34" times "10" rSup { size 8{"-5"} } m/s rSup { size 8{2} } } {}

The values are nearly identical. One would expect the gravitational force to be the same as the centripetal force at the core of the system.

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Solve part (b) of [link] using a c = v 2 / r size 12{a rSub { size 8{c} } =v rSup { size 8{2} } /r} {} .

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Astrology, that unlikely and vague pseudoscience, makes much of the position of the planets at the moment of one’s birth. The only known force a planet exerts on Earth is gravitational.

(a) Calculate the magnitude of the gravitational force exerted on a 4.20 kg baby by a 100 kg father 0.200 m away at birth (he is assisting, so he is close to the child).

(b) Calculate the magnitude of the force on the baby due to Jupiter if it is at its closest distance to Earth, some 6 . 29 × 10 11 m size 12{6 "." "29" times "10" rSup { size 8{"11"} } `m} {} away. How does the force of Jupiter on the baby compare to the force of the father on the baby? Other objects in the room and the hospital building also exert similar gravitational forces. (Of course, there could be an unknown force acting, but scientists first need to be convinced that there is even an effect, much less that an unknown force causes it.)

a) 7.01 × 10 –7 N size 12{7 cdot "01" times "10" rSup { size 8{"-7"} } N} {}

b) 1.35 × 10 –6 N size 12{1 cdot "35" times "10" rSup { size 8{"-6"} } N} {} , 0.521 size 12{0 cdot "521"} {}

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The existence of the dwarf planet Pluto was proposed based on irregularities in Neptune’s orbit. Pluto was subsequently discovered near its predicted position. But it now appears that the discovery was fortuitous, because Pluto is small and the irregularities in Neptune’s orbit were not well known. To illustrate that Pluto has a minor effect on the orbit of Neptune compared with the closest planet to Neptune:

(a) Calculate the acceleration due to gravity at Neptune due to Pluto when they are 4 . 50 × 10 12 m size 12{4 "." "50" times "10" rSup { size 8{"12"} } `m} {} apart, as they are at present. The mass of Pluto is 1 . 4 × 10 22 kg size 12{1 "." 4 times "10" rSup { size 8{"22"} } `"kg"} {} .

(b) Calculate the acceleration due to gravity at Neptune due to Uranus, presently about 2 . 50 × 10 12 m size 12{2 "." "50" times "10" rSup { size 8{"12"} } `m} {} apart, and compare it with that due to Pluto. The mass of Uranus is 8 . 62 × 10 25 kg size 12{8 "." "62" times " 10" rSup { size 8{"25"} } " kg"} {} .

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(a) The Sun orbits the Milky Way galaxy once each 2 . 60 x 10 8 y size 12{2 "." "60 x 10" rSup { size 8{8} } " y"} {} , with a roughly circular orbit averaging 3 . 00 x 10 4 size 12{3 "." "00 x 10" rSup { size 8{4} } } {} light years in radius. (A light year is the distance traveled by light in 1 y.) Calculate the centripetal acceleration of the Sun in its galactic orbit. Does your result support the contention that a nearly inertial frame of reference can be located at the Sun?

(b) Calculate the average speed of the Sun in its galactic orbit. Does the answer surprise you?

a) 1.66 × 10 –10 m / s 2 size 12{1 cdot "66" times "10" rSup { size 8{"-10"} } m/s rSup { size 8{2} } } {}

b) 2.17 × 10 5 m/s size 12{2 cdot "17" times "10" rSup { size 8{"5"} } m/s} {}

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Unreasonable Result

A mountain 10.0 km from a person exerts a gravitational force on him equal to 2.00% of his weight.

(a) Calculate the mass of the mountain.

(b) Compare the mountain’s mass with that of Earth.

(c) What is unreasonable about these results?

(d) Which premises are unreasonable or inconsistent? (Note that accurate gravitational measurements can easily detect the effect of nearby mountains and variations in local geology.)

a) 2.937 × 10 17 kg size 12{2 cdot "94" times "10" rSup { size 8{"17"} } kg} {}

b) 4.91 × 10 –8 size 12{4 cdot "92" times "10" rSup { size 8{"-8"} } } {}

of the Earth’s mass.

c) The mass of the mountain and its fraction of the Earth’s mass are too great.

d) The gravitational force assumed to be exerted by the mountain is too great.

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Questions & Answers

What does mean ohms law imply
Victoria Reply
what is matter
folajin Reply
Anything that occupies space
Kevin
Any thing that has weight and occupies space
Victoria
Anything which we can feel by any of our 5 sense organs
Suraj
Right
Roben
thanks
Suraj
what is a sulphate
Alo
any answers
Alo
the time rate of increase in velocity is called
Blessing Reply
acceleration
Emma
What is uniform velocity
Victoria
Greetings,users of that wonderful app.
Frank Reply
how to solve pressure?
Cruz Reply
how do we calculate weight and eara eg an elefant that weight 2000kg has four fits or legs search of surface eara is 0.1m2(1metre square) incontact with the ground=10m2(g =10m2)
Cruz
P=F/A
Mira
can someone derive the formula a little bit deeper?
Bern
what is coplanar force?
OLADITI Reply
what is accuracy and precision
Peace Reply
How does a current follow?
Vineeta Reply
follow?
akif
which one dc or ac current.
akif
how does a current following?
Vineeta
?
akif
AC current
Vineeta
AC current follows due to changing electric field and magnetic field.
akif
you guys are just saying follow is flow not follow please
Abubakar
ok bro thanks
akif
flows
Abubakar
but i wanted to understand him/her in his own language
akif
but I think the statement is written in English not any other language
Abubakar
my mean that in which form he/she written this,will understand better in this form, i write.
akif
ok
Abubakar
ok thanks bro. my mistake
Vineeta
u are welcome
Abubakar
what is a semiconductor
Vineeta Reply
substances having lower forbidden gap between valence band and conduction band
akif
what is a conductor?
Vineeta
replace lower by higher only
akif
convert 56°c to kelvin
Abubakar
How does a current follow?
Vineeta
A semiconductor is any material whose conduction lies between that of a conductor and an insulator.
AKOWUAH
what is Atom? what is molecules? what is ions?
Abubakar Reply
What is a molecule
Samuel Reply
Is a unit of a compound that has two or more atoms either of the same or different atoms
Justice
A molecule is the smallest indivisible unit of a compound, Just like the atom is the smallest indivisible unit of an element.
Rachel
what is a molecule?
Vineeta
what is a vector
smith Reply
A quantity that has both a magnitude AND a direction. E.g velocity, acceleration, force are all vector quantities. Hope this helps :)
deage
what is the difference between velocity and relative velocity?
Mackson
Velocity is the rate of change of displacement with time. Relative velocity on the other hand is the velocity observed by an observer with respect to a reference point.
Chuks
what do u understand by Ultraviolet catastrophe?
Rufai
A certain freely falling object, released from rest, requires 1.5seconds to travel the last 30metres before it hits the ground. (a) Find the velocity of the object when it is 30metres above the ground.
Mackson
A vector is a quantity that has both magnitude and direction
Rufus
the velocity Is 20m/s-2
Rufus
derivation of electric potential
Rugunda Reply
V = Er = (kq/r^2)×r V = kq/r Where V: electric potential.
Chuks
what is the difference between simple motion and simple harmonic motion ?
syed
hi
Peace
hi
Rufus
hi
Chip
simple harmonic motion is a motion of tro and fro of simple pendulum and the likes while simple motion is a linear motion on a straight line.
Muinat
a body acceleration uniform from rest a 6m/s -2 for 8sec and decelerate uniformly to rest in the next 5sec,the magnitude of the deceleration is ?
Patricia Reply
The wording not very clear kindly
Moses
6
Leo
9.6m/s2
Jolly
the magnitude of deceleration =-9.8ms-2. first find the final velocity using the known acceleration and time. next use the calculated velocity to find the size of deceleration.
Mackson
wrong
Peace
-3.4m/s-2
Justice
Hi
Abj
Firstly, calculate final velocity of the body and then the deceleration. The final ans is,-9.6ms-2
Muinat
8x6= 48m/-2 use v=u + at 48÷5=9.6
Lawrence
can i define motion like this motion can be define as the continuous change of an object or position
Shuaib Reply
Any object in motion will come to rest after a time duration. Different objects may cover equal distance in different time duration. Therefore, motion is defined as a change in position depending on time.
Chuks
Practice Key Terms 4

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
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