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Newtons Law of

Universal Gravitation

Every particle in the Universe attracts every other particle

with a force that is directly proportional to the product of

their masses and inversely proportional to the distance

between them

Fg G

m1m2

r2

6.673 10-11 Nm2 / kg2

The magnitude of the force varies as the inverse square of the separation of

the particles

The law can also be expressed in vector form

F12 G

m1m2

r12

2

r12

Where F12 is the force of particle 1 on 2 and the negative sign indicates that

the direction of this force is opposite to the direction of the unit vector

directed from particle 1 to particle 2.

The negative sign also indicates that particle 2 is attracted toward particle 1.

F12 F21

Law action-reaction pair

always exists between two

particles, regardless of the

medium between them

As a consequence of the

inverse square law, the force

of attraction decreases rapidly

as distance increases

measured G

The two masses are fixed

at the ends of a light

horizontal rod

Two large masses were

placed near the small ones

The angle of rotation was

measured

Distribution of Mass

spherically symmetric mass distribution on a

particle outside the distribution is the same as if

the entire mass of the distribution were

concentrated at the center

The force exerted by the Earth on a particle of

mass m near the surface of the Earth is

ME m

Fg G 2

RE

gravitational field describes the effect that any object has on

the empty space around itself in terms of the force that would be

present if a second object were somewhere in that space

When a particle of mass m is placed at a point where the

gravitational field is , the particle experiences a force

The field exerts a force

g on the particle

Thus the gravitational field is the gravitational force

experienced by a test particle placed at that point divided by the

mass of the test particle

g

Fg

GM

2 r

m

r

The presence of the test particle is not necessary for the field to

exist

be visualized by means of

field lines which give the

direction of the

acceleration a particle

would experience if

placed in that field.

In fact, the magnitude of

point is that of the

freefall acceleration at

Fg

GM

that location

g

2 r

m

ME m

mg G 2

RE

ME

g G 2

RE

surface, r becomes RE + h

g

GME

RE h

altitude

As r goes to infinity, the weight of the object

approaches zero

The change in gravitational potential energy of a system

associated with a given displacement of a member of the

system is defined as the negative of the work done by the

gravitational force on that member during the displacement

rf

U U f Ui F r dr

ri

A to B, its gravitational

potential energy changes

by U

for the Earth, cont

Graph of the

gravitational

potential energy U

versus r for an object

above the Earths

surface

The potential energy

goes to zero as r

approaches infinity

for the Earth

energy where the force is zero

GME m

U (r )

r

General

function becomes

Gm1m2

U

r

varies as 1/r

Remember the force varies as 1/r 2

The potential energy is negative because the force is attractive

and we chose the potential energy to be zero at infinite

separation

increase the separation between two objects

increase in the gravitational potential energy as the

particles are separated

thought of as the binding energy

If an external agent applies a force larger than the

binding energy, the excess energy will be in the form

of kinetic energy of the particles when they are at

infinite separation

Particles

potential energy of the

system is the sum over all

pairs of particles

Gravitational potential

energy obeys the

Utotal U12 U13 U23

superposition principle

G

r13

r23

r12

separate the particles by an infinite distance

v in the vicinity of a massive object of mass M

M >> m

frame

The total energy is the sum of the systems kinetic

and potential energies

Total energy E = K +U

1

Mm

2

E mv G

2

r

An object of mass m is

moving in a circular orbit

about M

The gravitational force

supplies a centripetal

force

GMm

E

2r

case of a circular orbit

The kinetic energy is positive and is equal to half

the absolute value of the potential energy

The absolute value of E is equal to the binding

energy of the system

Example, Geosynchronous

Satellite

A geosynchronous

satellite is the one that we

see to remain over the

same point on the Earth

The period of the satellite

is then the same as the

period of the earth = 24 h

Equating the gravitational

force with the centripetal

force, one can find h or v

from the Earths surface with an initial

speed, vi

Use energy considerations to find the

minimum value of the initial speed needed

to allow the object to move infinitely far

away from the Earth

This minimum speed is called the escape speed

v esc

2GME

RE

object

The result is independent of the direction of the

velocity and ignores air resistance

be extended to any

planet

v esc

2GM

some escape speeds

from various objects

The gravitational field is infinite and so some gravitational

force will always be felt no matter how far away you can

get

This explains why some planets have atmospheres and others

do not

Lighter molecules have higher average speeds and are more

likely to reach escape speeds

its own gravitational force

The escape speed for a black hole is very large due to the

concentration of a large mass into a sphere of very small radius

If the escape speed exceeds the speed of light, radiation

cannot escape and it appears black

space with no other masses nearby. The magnitude of the gravitational

force experienced by each mass is F. If, instead, the spheres had masses

2M and 3M and their separation was 2R, what would be the magnitude of

the gravitational force on the larger mass, as expressed in terms of F?

A.

B.

C.

D.

E.

3F

2F

F/2

2F/3

3F/2

and (0, 0.30) m on the xy plane. What is the magnitude of the

resultant force on the mass at x = 0, y = 0.30 m as caused by the

other two masses?

A.

B.

C.

D.

E.

2.610-8 N

2.010-8 N

2.910-8 N

2.310-8 N

2.110-8 N

that is a distance 2R above the surface of the Earth, where

R is the radius of the Earth? Answer in m/s2

A.

B.

C.

D.

E.

4.8

1.1

3.3

2.5

6.5

How many terms appear in the expression for the total

gravitational potential energy of this planetary system?

A.

B.

5

10

20

25

C.

D.

E.

radius = R). What minimum launch speed is required if the

projectile is to rise to a height of 2R above the surface of the

planet? Disregard any dissipative effects of the atmosphere.

1/ 2

A.

4GM

3R

B.

8GM

5R

C.

3GM

2R

D.

GM

R

E.

5GM

3R

1/ 2

1/ 2

1/ 2

1/ 2

orbit of radius R. How much energy is required to transfer

the spaceship to a circular orbit of radius 3R?

A.

B.

C.

D.

E.

2GmM/(3R)

GmM/(3R)

GmM/(4R)

GmM/(6R)

3GmM/(4R)

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