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Newtons Law of

Universal Gravitation

Isaac Newton

1666, England (45 years


after Kepler).

Questions

If the planets are orbiting the sun, what force is


keeping them in orbit?
What force keeps the moon in its orbit?
Could the force of gravity be universal?

Newtons Law of Universal


Gravitation

Any two objects attract each other with a


gravitational force, proportional to the
product of their masses and inversely
proportional to the square of the distance
between them.

The force acts in the direction of the line


connecting the centers of the masses.

Newtons Law of Universal


Gravitation

http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/upload/2009/07/meet_our_second_moon/400px-NewtonsLawOfUniversalGravitation.svg.png

Effect of Mass on Gravitational Force


m

m
F

d
2m

m
2F

Effect of Mass on Gravitational Force


2m

2m
4F
d
3m

m
3F
d

Effect of Distance on Gravitational Force


m

m
F

d
m

m
1/4F

2d

Effect of Distance on Gravitational Force


4F

3m

2m
2.7F

1d

Inverse Square Law


The law of gravitation is called an inverse square law
because the magnitude of the force is inversely
proportional to the square of the separation. If the
masses are moved twice as far apart, the force of gravity
between is cut by a factor of four.

FG

G m1 m2
=
r2

What if each mass and the separation were all


quadrupled?
answer:

no change in the force

Universal Gravitational Constant

G represents the
universal gravitational constant
G = 6.67 x 10-11 Nm2/kg2

Henry
Cavendishs
experiment
determined the
proportionality
constant
G
in 1798.

Since G is only
6.67 10-11 Nm2 / kg2,
the measurements had
to be very precise.

http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/archive/1639/16390101.jpg

Problem 1

Two spheres of mass 35kg are 60m apart.

A)

What force does one exert on the other?


If the mass of one sphere is tripled and the
radius is quadrupled how does the force
change?

B)

answer:

2.27 10

11

A factor of

N
3
16

Problem 2

Two spheres of equal mass have a force of


gravity of 7.0x10-9 N exerted on each other. If the
distance between them is 7.0 m, find the mass.

answer:

71.7 kg

Problem 3
3 asteroids are positioned as shown, forming a right
triangle. Find the net force on the 2.5 million kg
asteroid.
6
3 10 kg

40 m
2.7 106 kg

2.5 106 kg

60 m
answer:
0.212 N at 14.6 above horizontal (N of W)

INTERESTING FACT.

x = vt
v

Falling
Around the
Earth

y = 0.5 g t 2 {

Newton imagined a cannon ball fired


horizontally from a mountain top at a speed
v. In a time t it falls a distance y = 0.5 g t 2 while

moving horizontally a distance x = v t. If fired fast


enough (about 8 km/s), the Earth would curve downward
the same amount the cannon ball falls downward. Thus, the
projectile would never hit the ground, and it would be in orbit.
The moon falls around Earth in the exact same way but at a
much greater altitude.
.

Gravitational Field

Gravitational Field

The region around a massive object in which


another object would experience a gravitational
force of attraction is called a gravitational
field.
In a uniform field, the lines are parallel and
evenly spaced. Near Earths surface the
magnitude of the gravitational field is 9.8 N / kg

10 kg
98 N
Earths surface

Nonuniform Gravitational Fields


Near Earths surface the gravitational field is approximately
uniform. Far from the surface it looks more like a sea urchin.
The field lines
are radial, rather than
parallel, and point toward
center of Earth.
Earth

get farther apart farther from


the surface, meaning the
field is weaker there.
get closer together closer to
the surface, meaning the
field is stronger there.

Field lines give the direction of the


field. The field is a vector.

Earths surface

On a large scale,
gravity is an
attractive radial

On a small scale
gravity can be
regarded as a
uniform field

Gravitational Field Strength g


m
M

From Newtons 2nd Law

GMm
F 2
r

F = mg
g = acceleration due to
gravity (m/s2)

F
g
m

g = gravitational field

GM
g 2
r

Gravitational
Potential Energy

Gravitational Potential Energy


Gravitational potential energy of an object of mass m a
distance r from the Earths center:

Gravitational Potential Energy


Very close to the Earths surface, the
gravitational potential increases linearly
with altitude:

Gravitational potential energy, just like all


other forms of energy, is a scalar. It
therefore has no components; just a sign.

Energy Conservation
Total mechanical energy of an object of mass m
a distance r from the center of the Earth:

As an object approaches the Earth, it moves


faster and faster.

Energy Conservation

Energy Conservation
Another way of visualizing the gravitational potential well:

Energy Conservation
Escape speed
The initial upward speed a projectile must
have in order to escape from the Earths
gravity

Energy Conservation
What are Black holes?
If an object is sufficiently massive and
sufficiently small, the escape speed will
equal or exceed the speed of light.
Light itself will not be able to escape the
surface.
This is a black hole.

Keplers Laws of
Planetary Motion

Early Astronomers
In the 2nd century AD the Alexandrian astronomer
Ptolemy put forth a theory that Earth is stationary and at
the center of the universe and that the sun, moon, and
planets revolve around it. Though incorrect, it was
accepted for centuries.

In the early 1500s the Polish astronomer Nicolaus


Copernicus boldly rejected Ptolemys geocentric
model for a heliocentric one. His theory put the sun
stated that the planets revolve around the sun in
circular orbits and that Earth rotates daily on its axis.

Early Astronomers
In the late 1500s the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe
made better measurements of the planets and stars than
anyone before him. The telescope had yet to be
invented. He believed in a Ptolemaic-Coperican
hybrid model in which the planets revolve around the
sun, which in turn revolves around the Earth.
In the late 1500s and early 1600s the Italian
scientist Galileo was one of the very few people to
advocate the Copernican view, for which the
Church eventually had him placed under house
arrest. After hearing about the invention of a
spyglass in Holland, Galileo made a telescope and
discovered four moons of Jupiter, craters on the
moon, and the phases of Venus.

Early Astronomers
The German astronomer Johannes Kepler was a
contemporary of Galileo and an assistant to Tycho
Brahe. Like Galileo, Kepler believed in the
heliocentric system of Copernicus, but using
Brahes planetary data he deduced that the planets
move in ellipses rather than circles. This is the
first of three planetary laws that Kepler formulated
based on Brahes data.

Both Galileo and Kepler contributed greatly to work


of the English scientist Sir Isaac Newton a generation
later.

Keplers Laws of Planetary Motion


Summary of Keplers 3 Laws:
1. Planets move around the sun in elliptical paths with the
sun at one focus of the ellipse.
2. While orbiting, a planet sweep out equal areas in equal
times.
3. The square of a planets period (revolution time) is
proportional to the cube of its mean distance from the sun:
T 2 These
R 3 laws apply to any satellite orbiting a much

larger body.

Keplers First Law


Planets move around the sun in elliptical paths with the sun at
one focus of the ellipse.

F1

F2

Sun
P

Planet

An ellipse has two foci, F1 and F2. For any point P on the ellipse,
F1 P + F2 P is a constant. The orbits of the planets are nearly
circular (F1 and F2 are close together), but not perfect circles. A
circle is a an ellipse with both foci at the same point--the center.
Comets have very eccentric (highly elliptical) orbits.

Keplers Second Law


While orbiting, a planet sweep out equal areas in equal times.
A
D
Sun

B
The blue shaded sector has the same area as the red shaded sector.
Thus, a planet moves from C to D in the same amount of time as
it moves from A to B. This means a planet must move faster
when its closer to the sun. For planets this affect is small, but for
comets its quite noticeable, since a comets orbit is has much
greater eccentricity.

Keplers Third Law


The square of a planets period is proportional to the cube of
its mean distance from the sun: T 2 R 3
Assuming that a planets orbit is circular (which is not exactly correct but is a good
approximation in most cases), then the mean distance from the sun is a constant--the
radius. F is the force of gravity on the planet. F is also the centripetal force. If the
orbit is circular, the planets speed is constant, and v = 2 R / T. Therefore,

m
F
Planet
M
Sun

GMm
R2

m v2
m [2 R / T] 2
=
=
R
R

Cancel ms
and simplify:

GM
4 2 R
=
R2
T2
2
4

Rearrange: T 2 =
R3
GM

Since G, M, and are constants, T 2 R 3.

Keplers Third Law

2
4

R3
T2 =
GM

Orbital period depends on the mass of the central body


(which for a planet is its star) but not on the mass of the
orbiting body
Farther away a planet is from its star, the longer it takes to
complete an orbit.
There are two reasons for this: 1. The farther away the
satellite is, the farther it must travel to complete an orbit;
2. The farther out its orbit is, the slower it moves, as shown:
GMm
R2

m v2
=
R

v=

GM
R

The End

Sample Problems

What is the force of gravitational


attraction between two 10-kg masses
separated by a distance of 100 m between
their centers of mass?

The force of gravitational attraction


between two masses, m1 and m2, separated
by a distance d, is 45 newtons. What is
the force of gravitational attraction
bewtween these two masses if the distance
between them is decreased by 1/3.

A satellite weights 200 newtons on the


surface of Earth. What is its weight at a
distance of one Earth radius above the
surface of Earth?

A space shuttle weighs 2.01 x 107 newtons


(4.5 million pounds!) on Earths surface.
What is its weight in newtons when it is
orbiting at a distance of 6.43 x 105 m
above Earths surface?

What is the force of gravitational


attraction between Saturn and Earth?
Saturn Statistics
Mass = 5.87 x 1026 kg
Radius = 6.00 x 107 m
Mean distance from Earth (surface to
surface) = 1.20 x 1012 m