This preview has intentionally blurred parts. Sign up to view the full document

View Full Document

Unformatted Document Excerpt

MasteringPhysics: Assignment Print View A Matter of Some Gravity Learning Goal: To understand Newton's law of gravitation and the distinction between inertial and gravitational masses. In this problem, you will practice using Newton's law of gravitation. According to that law, the magnitude of the gravitational force between two small particles of masses and , separated by a distance , is given by , where is the universal gravitational constant, whose numerical value (in SI units) is . This formula applies not only to small particles, but also to spherical objects. In fact, the gravitational force between two uniform spheres is the same as if we concentrated all the mass of each sphere at its center. Thus, by modeling the Earth and the Moon as uniform spheres, you can use the particle approximation when calculating the force of gravity between them. Be careful in using Newton's law to choose the correct value for . To calculate the force of gravitational attraction between two uniform spheres, the distance in the equation for Newton's law of gravitation is the distance between the centers of the spheres. For instance, if a small object such as an elephant is located on the surface of the Earth, the radius of the Earth would be used in the equation. Note that the force of gravity acting on an object located near the surface of a planet is often called weight . Also note that in situations involving satellites, you are often given the altitude of the satellite, that is, the distance from the satellite to the surface of the planet; this is not the distance to be used in the formula for the law of gravitation. There is a potentially confusing issue involving mass. Mass is defined as a measure of an object's inertia, that is, its ability to resist acceleration. Newton's second law demonstrates the relationship between mass, acceleration, and the net force acting on an object: . We can now refer to this measure of inertia more precisely as the inertial mass .... View Full Document

End of Preview

Sign up now to access the rest of the document