Gravitational Fields

Gravitational Fields - close to either mass, indicating the...

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Gravitational Fields A useful concept when dealing with forces that act at a distance is the field. Gravitational field lines help us to imagine what sort of forces would act on a particle at a certain point near another gravitating object. The direction of the field lines indicates the direction of the force that a mass would experience if placed at a certain point, and the density of the field lines is proportional to the strength of the force. Since gravity is an attractive force, all field lines point towards masses. Figure %: Field lines between two masses. shows the distribution of field lines near two masses. Note how the density of the lines increases
Background image of page 1
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: close to either mass, indicating the increased strength of the force at those points. Gravitational Potential Occasionally, another concept is defined with respect to gravitational potential energy. We define it here primarily to avoid possible confusion with the gravitational potential energy. Gravitational potential, g , is defined as the potential energy that a unit mass (usually 1 kilogram) would have at any point. Mathematically: g = - where M is the mass of the gravitating object. This is sometimes useful because it assigns each point in space a definite gravitational potential value, irrespective of mass....
View Full Document

This note was uploaded on 02/09/2012 for the course PHY PHY2053 taught by Professor Davidjudd during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

Ask a homework question - tutors are online