# 21 Gravitational Fields

This page covers the gravitational fields section of the course. Some people find this section very tricky. You must learn the formulae a and what each one means very carefully before you try and do the problems. They are so similar it gets a bit confusing. However, just learn each one carefully and make a definitions sheet. Then it will be clear! Also potential energy and gravitational potential are not the same thing!

#### Resources

21 Grav Fields

21 Grav Fields Student booklet

A2 Gravitational Fields Timed Assessment

Advancing Physics Extracts for Gravitational Forces

Grav Potential Exam Q

HW Grav and Elec Fields Long Answer

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/grav.html

## Galileo's Famous Gravity Experiment | Brian Cox | BBC Two

You probably know that two objects dropped in a vacuum fall at the same rate, no matter the mass of each item. If you’ve never seen a demonstration of this, then you really should, because it’s incredible to watch.

Here is perhaps the perfect example, brought to us by physicist Brian Cox. He checked out NASA’s Space Simulation Chamber located at the Space Power Facility in Ohio. With a volume of 22,653 cubic meters, it’s the largest vacuum chamber in the world.

In this hypnotizing clip from the BBC, Cox drops a bowling ball and a feather together, first in normal conditions, and then after virtually all the air has been sucked out of the chamber. We know what happens, but that doesn’t stop it from being awesome, especially with the team’s ecstatic faces.

full-length experiment: https://youtu.be/E43-CfukEgs

Credit: iflscience, BBC Two

Retouch: Binh PhamShow More active

Galileo's Famous Gravity Experiment | Brian Cox | BBC Two

You probably know that two objects dropped in a vacuum fall at the same [...]

You probably know that two objects dropped in a vacuum fall at the same rate, no matter the mass of each item. If you’ve never seen a demonstration of this, then you really should, because it’s incredible to watch.

Here is perhaps the perfect example, brought to us by physicist Brian Cox. He checked out NASA’s Space Simulation Chamber located at the Space Power Facility in Ohio. With a volume of 22,653 cubic meters, it’s the largest vacuum chamber in the world.

In this hypnotizing clip from the BBC, Cox drops a bowling ball and a feather together, first in normal conditions, and then after virtually all the air has been sucked out of the chamber. We know what happens, but that doesn’t stop it from being awesome, especially with the team’s ecstatic faces.

full-length experiment: https://youtu.be/E43-CfukEgs

Credit: iflscience, BBC Two

Retouch: Binh PhamShow More active

GCSE Physics - Gravity, Weight and GPE #3

This videos covers: - What gravity is - What the strength of gravity [...]

This videos covers:

- What gravity is

- What the strength of gravity depends on

- How to calculate weight

- How to calculate gravitational potential energy

General info:

- You need to memorise the equation for gravitational potential energy

- Suitable for all GCSE and IGCSE courses

Exam board specific info:

AQA - Everything is relevant to your course!

IGCSE Edexcel - Everything is relevant to your course!

Edexcel - Everything is relevant to your course!

OCR 21st Century - Everything is relevant to your course!

OCR Gateway - Everything is relevant to your course!Show More active

Galileo's Measure Of Gravity Explained By Jim Al-Khalili | The Amazing World Of Gravity | Spark

When you drop an object it's actually quite hard to tell if it falls at a [...]

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Physics 8.1.03a - The Inverse Square Law

The nature of an inverse square law, and how it arises naturally as a [...]

The nature of an inverse square law, and how it arises naturally as a property of three dimensional space. Newton understood geometrically that light dispersed according to an inverse square law and surmised, correctly, that gravitational force would be described in a similar manner. From the Physics course by Derek Owens.Show More active

Inverse Square Law

Gravity follows the inverse-square law, which means that as you double the [...]

Gravity follows the inverse-square law, which means that as you double the distance, the force of gravity becomes one-fourth as strong. Duration: 2:51.

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The Universal Law of Gravitation - Part 1 | Physics | Don't Memorise

This video explains the concept of the Universal Law of Gravitation. To [...]

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Gravitational Fields | A-Level Physics | Doodle Science

A Level Physics Doodle Science teaches you high school and College physics [...]

A Level Physics

Doodle Science teaches you high school and College physics in a less boring way in almost no time!

Follow me: https://twitter.com/DoodleSci

You can support me at: https://patreon.com/doodlescience

Script:

A gravitational field is a region around one mass, which affects other nearby masses. It is very weak however which is why the effect is only significant on large objects like the Earth. We can represent the Earth’s gravitational field by drawing field lines showing the direction of the gravitational force on masses in the field. In this case the field is radial and equally spread around the earth. On the surface of the earth the gravitational field is approximately uniform because the field lines are virtually pointing in the same direction and are equally spaced. This is why we assume the acceleration due to gravity is a constant of 9.81m/s^2 because the change at small vertical heights is negligible.

Newton’s law of gravitation states that all masses attract each other with a force that is proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the two centres of mass. This gives us the equation F= - GMm/r^2. Where G is the universal gravitational constant of 6.67x10^-11; M is the mass of the larger body; m is the mass of the smaller body; and r is the distance between the centres of mass of the two bodies. The minus sign simply refers to the to the fact that the force is attractive. For example, two bodies, one of mass 6kg and the other of mass 20kg are placed 50cm apart. From this we can work out the gravitational force acting on each object as 3.20x10^-8N. The force acting on each body is equal because they are attracted to each other.

The gravitational field strength is the force per unit mass at a point in a gravitational field. For a uniform field the equation is F/m, where F is the force experienced by the body and m is the mass of the body. For a radial field, the gravitational field strength obeys an inverse square law. The equation for it is g=GM/r^2. You can see how the gravitational field strength would decrease the further you were from the centre of the body producing the field.

This formula can be used to work out the masses of celestial bodies. For example, given that the gravitational field strength on the earth’s surface is 9.81 N/kg and the radius of the earth is 6400km, we can work out the mass of the earth to be 6.02x10^24kg.

When considering planetary motion, the gravitational force acting on the body orbiting is equal to the centripetal force because the force acts perpendicular to the direction of motion. By equating the two formulas and using the formula for the speed of an object in circular motion we get the equation T^2=(4π^2/GM)r^3. Where T is the orbital period in seconds and r is the distance between the centres of mass of the orbiting body and body being orbited. This equation shows Kepler’s third law which states that the T^2 is directly proportional to r^3. This also suggests that for a set of celestial bodies (e.g. the planets of our solar system) orbiting the same large body (e.g. the sun), T^2/r^3 is a constant and is equal for all the celestial bodies.

For example, given that it takes 365 days for the Earth to orbit the sun and that the distance of the earth from the centre of the sun is 1.5x10^11m. We can work out the mass of the sun to be about 2.00x10^30kg.

Given that the orbital period of mars is 687 days, we can use the Earth’s orbital characteristics to work how far Mars is from the centre of the Sun as being 2.29x10^11m.

A geostationary orbit is an orbit around the Earth whose orbital period is 24 hours. They are located above the equator and are always vertically above the same point on the surface of the Earth. This makes them useful for TV satellites because the dishes can be pointed to a fixed point in the sky. Which is quite convenient I’d say.

References:

1. CGP AS & A2 Physics for OCR A, ISBN: 9781847624192Show More active

Gravitational Field Strength

025 - Gravitational Field Strength In this video Paul Andersen explains how [...]

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Work done within the gravitational field

In this channel of YouTube are edited videos for high school students as [...]

In this channel of YouTube are edited videos for high school students as well as for students of physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, pharmacy, agriculture and all branches studying science of physics.Show More active

Gravitational Potential Energy | A-level Physics | OCR, AQA, Edexcel

Gravitational Potential Energy in a Snap! Unlock the full A-level Physics [...]

Gravitational Potential Energy in a Snap!

Unlock the full A-level Physics course at https://bit.ly/2TsvHo0 created by Miriam, Physics expert at SnapRevise.

SnapRevise is the UK’s leading A-level and GCSE revision & exam preparation resource offering comprehensive video courses created by A* tutors. Our courses are designed around the OCR, AQA, SNAB, Edexcel B, WJEC, CIE and IAL exam boards, concisely covering all the important concepts required by each specification. In addition to all the content videos, our courses include hundreds of exam question videos, where we show you how to tackle questions and walk you through step by step how to score full marks.

Sign up today and together, let’s make A-level Physics a walk in the park!Show More active

Gravitational potential and gravitational potential energy: from fizzics.org

Notes to support this video are here: [...]

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Kepler's Third Law of Planetary Motion Explained, Physics Problems, Period & Orbital Radius

This physics video tutorial explains kepler's third law of planetary [...]

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How to solve a Kepler's Third Law problem

I take you through a worked solution of a Kepler's Third Law problem Check [...]

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Kepler's 3rd Law for Planetary Celestial Mechanics Physics Lesson

http://www.physicshelp.ca Free simple easy to follow videos and we have [...]

http://www.physicshelp.ca Free simple easy to follow videos and we have organized them on our website.

Key words

Celestial mechanics physics kepler's third law three laws orbital period constant

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The Cavendish Experiment - Sixty Symbols

Henry Cavendish was an unusual man but also one of the first great [...]

Henry Cavendish was an unusual man but also one of the first great scientists. Many of his discoveries remained hidden in his notebooks, but his name is still attached to the the extraordinary Cavendish Experiment.

More physics at http://www.sixtysymbols.com/Show More **Permanent link to this article: **https://www.animatedscience.co.uk/21-gravitational-fields