REVIEW OF THE EARTH’S GRAVITATIONAL FIELD




Isaac Newton postulated the Law of Gravity approximately 340 years ago. He theorized that any two objects exert an attractive force on each other. The magnitude of this attractive force is directly proportional to the product of the masses of the two objects and is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. Thus, for objects with masses M and m that are a distance D apart, the force F of attraction between them, according to Newton is:

According to this relationship, if the mass of one of the objects, M or m, were doubled, then the force of attraction F would be doubled. However, if the distance D between the objects were doubled, the resultant force F would be ¼ of its prior value.

If the Earth is used as one of the masses (say M) and an object on the surface of the Earth is the second object m, then the force F can be considered the weight W of the object m.

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