Gravitational Fields: Review
Recall that surrounding any object with mass, or collection of objects with mass, is agravitational field. Any mass placed in a gravitational field will experience agravitational force. We defined the field strength as thegravitational force per unitmasson any “test mass” placed in the field:
is a vector that points inthe direction of the net gravitational force; its units are N
is the vector forceon the test mass, and
is the test mass, a scalar.
are always parallel. Thestrength of the field is independent of the test mass. For example, near Earth’ssurface
for any mass. Some fields are uniform (parallel,equally spaced fields lines). Nonuniform fields are stronger where the field lines arecloser together.
10 kg98 N
uniform field nonuniform field