Questions regarding the attractive force which exists between any two bodies of matter.

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21
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4answers
8k views

What's the fastest moving object in the universe?

We know that nothing can have proper velocities larger than the speed of light in vacuum. But are there any objects in space that get close to it? Any comets, or other objects thrown by gravity or ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Do all the objects in the universe exert force on all other objects?

Do all the objects in the universe exert force on all other objects? Like a type of gravity; also, how much does it decrease as it gets farther away?
14
votes
3answers
640 views

Does a planet's mass or gravity affect the height of it's mountains?

According to this Wikipedia page, the top five highest mountains on Mars (and the highest on Venus) are all taller than Mount Everest (and Mauna Kea as measured from the ocean floor). Does a planet's ...
13
votes
4answers
292 views

What is Gravitational Lensing?

What is the effect known as gravitational lensing? How does it work? What objects would be able to cause this effect?
13
votes
4answers
3k views

Is Jupiter made entirely out of gas?

I heard that Jupiter is made out of gas. But in school I learned that Jupiter has gravity which is 2.5 times that of Earth (Gravity that can tear apart a comet) and gravity is proportional to mass. ...
13
votes
4answers
771 views

Doesn't gravity attract objects in space until they collide?

If the formula to calculate the force of gravity of two objects is: $$F1 = F2 = G * (M1 * M2/r^2)$$ Why do planets stay in orbit? Or is there another formula at work?
12
votes
3answers
512 views

How do we know that the speed of the influence of gravity is instant?

When I was in college, I posed to my astronomy professor a thought experiment that had been puzzling my mind for some time: "If the sun magically disappeared, instantly, along with all its influences, ...
11
votes
3answers
356 views

Will Saturn's rings become a moon?

Planets form from disks of matter orbiting around a star; some moons form from disks of matter orbiting planets. If this were going to happen around Saturn, approximately how much time would it take?
11
votes
1answer
3k views

Is the moon moving further away from Earth and closer to the Sun? Why?

According to The NASA Moon Facts page: The moon is actually moving away from earth at a rate of 1.5 inches per year. Why is the moon moving further away from the Earth? Is this a result of the ...
11
votes
1answer
194 views

Parking a telescope at a Lagrange point: is this a good idea from a debris point of view?

The James Webb space telescope is supposed to be located at the Earth-Sun L2 Lagrange point. Do we expect the region around that point to have a higher concentration of space debris, asteroids, ...
10
votes
4answers
6k views

What is the difference between our time and space time?

I am trying to understand the phenomenon of space-time. But, everything on internet seems to be too complicated for me since I do not have a background in physics. Can anyone give me simple ...
10
votes
1answer
327 views

Determining effect of small variable force on planetary perihelion precession

Is there an analytical technique for determining the effect of a small variable transverse acceleration upon the rate of aspides precession (strictly not a precession but rotation of the line of ...
9
votes
5answers
230 views

Orbiting around a black hole

Is it possible (for either a satellite or a planet) to orbit around a black hole? Do they attract everything around themselves into the center? Or they just affect gravitational force just like stars? ...
8
votes
2answers
401 views

What was the length of year 1 million years back?

We know that the universe is gradually expanding and this indirectly means that the gravitational force between sun, earth, planets and other stars (roughly anything in the universe) is gradually ...
8
votes
2answers
430 views

Why haven't Earth and Venus got any tiny moons? Or have they?

Why haven't some meteoroids gotten caught in Earth's or Venus' orbit? AFAIK most meteors are tiny fragments from comets. Shouldn't some comet tail sometime have passed Earth orbit at velocities ...
8
votes
1answer
181 views

Is it safer to be near a star or a black hole?

If a star or black hole neared the solar system, which would do the least damage? For the sake of a good comparison, lets assume the candidate star is an "average" 5 solar mass star, and the black ...
7
votes
3answers
580 views

How does a gravity slingshot actually work?

From what I know of elliptical orbits, an object speeds up near the periapsis and slows down at the apoapsis, much like we learned in high school physics how a sphere would roll down and back up a ...
7
votes
1answer
503 views

How much mass does an object in space need to keep a human on its surface?

Assume there were a roughly spherical object in space like a meteorite or a comet. If I weighed 80kg on Earth, how much mass would be required for an object in space so that I could stay on its ...
7
votes
1answer
170 views

Dark Flow: statistical limits on existence

Dark Flow has been thrown around as a term a lot lately, especially with the latest Planck results. New Scientist reported last year that it was now statistically improbable, but the paper by Atrio ...
6
votes
3answers
315 views

Can you explain the pattern of Hill sphere sizes of the objects of the Solar system?

I found this image on calculations of Hill sphere for planets/dwarf planets of the Solar system. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hill_sphere_of_the_planets.png I found it interesting that ...
6
votes
1answer
109 views

Are there any alternative explanations for the gravitational force we attribute to dark matter?

It always seemed counter-intuitive to me that we observed an measured a gravitational force and since the universe has not enough mass to account for it, the conclusion was to say there's a different ...
6
votes
2answers
181 views

Why do we have the cosmological constant?

Since the cosmological constant is not required to explain that the universe seem to be expanding, why do we have it? What other factors cause us to have that constant? Background: Without the ...
6
votes
1answer
167 views

How does gravity affect the wavelength of light?

If, hypothetically, me and my rocket powered flashlight were falling straight toward the center of a black hole. The flashlight is a few kilometers behind me in our travels toward the center of the ...
5
votes
3answers
288 views

Does gravity slow or speed light up?

The speed of light in a vacuum is presumably the fastest speed possible. if gravity bends the course of light, does this imply that gravity the retards light so it is moving at a slower speed? If ...
5
votes
1answer
175 views

How can Halley's Comet be predictable?

How can we know that Halley's Comet is going to come again every 76 years? I understand that the comet has an orbit around the sun but how can scientists know that it won't be thrown off course for ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Does the gravity of the planets affect the orbit of other planets in our solar system?

When one planet passes near another during its trip around the sun, does their gravitational pull is strong enough to disrupt noticeably each other's orbit ?
5
votes
4answers
203 views

Using the Sun as a Gravitational Lens

Can the Sun be used as a gravitational lens to achieve better telescopic viewing? Can this effect be practically used to view celestial objects?
5
votes
2answers
151 views

Has someone looked the other way?

I learned that gravity always pulls, it is always attractive. There is no antigravity, no "negative" mass. I also learned that most matter is dark, invisible. We know that because we see visible ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Exercise: 2D orbital mechanics simulation (python)

Just a little disclaimer beforehand: I have never studied astronomy or any exact sciences for that matter (not even IT), so I am trying to fill this gap by self-education. Astronomy is one of the ...
5
votes
1answer
143 views

Wouldn't the rings of Saturn experience tidal effect?

The "Lord of the Rings" has more than 60 moons, some of which are larger than Mercury. My question is, wouldn't the ring, which is mostly comprised of rocks, experience tidal effect whenever a moon is ...
5
votes
1answer
290 views

What is the difference between Sphere of Influence and Hill sphere?

Wikipedia's definition of Hill sphere is: An astronomical body's Hill sphere is the region in which it dominates the attraction of satellites. To be retained by a planet, a moon must have an orbit ...
5
votes
1answer
137 views

What Is The Great Attractor?

I've heard that there is something called the Great Attractor which seems to have some kind of gravitational influence on objects in the Universe. Is this some kind of theoretical notion posited in ...
5
votes
2answers
152 views

Tide on the Moon

If the Earth's Moon had a water ocean of depth 2-4 Km, how high would the tides rise due to the Earth's gravity? (Just a hypothetical question.)
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Will Earth lose the Moon before the Sun goes into supernova?

Ive read on some sites and saw on youtube videos that the moon is getting away from earth by 1-3 cm a year. Is this enough to make the Earth lose the Moon before the Sun goes into Supernova? Im ...
4
votes
6answers
406 views

Why isn't the star that created the black hole a black hole?

If the mass of a black hole is creating so much gravity that light cannot escape, why isn't the mass of the star that created the black hole (before it went supernova) trapping light as well? By all ...
4
votes
2answers
187 views

How does light affect the universe?

When light is emitted by for example a star, that star loses energy - which causes it to reduce its gravity. Then that energy begins a journey for potentially billions of years, until it reaches some ...
4
votes
1answer
142 views

How long until the Earth and Moon become a binary planet?

With the rate at which the moon is further receding into a higher orbit, how long until the barycentre between us and the moon leaves the earth, and going by the IAUs 2006 definition update, we become ...
4
votes
1answer
190 views

From what distance can one object influence gravity of another object?

Each object in the universe has its own gravitational influence on all other objects in the universe. What distance do they have to be from each other to create only one gravitational influence? ...
4
votes
4answers
398 views

If the hammer and feather move at the same speed why do comet and the tail particles move at different speeds?

From this exhibition by an astronaut on the moon dropping a hammer and a feather and showing they move at the same speed, why do the particles of the comets tail move away from the comet, slow down ...
4
votes
1answer
110 views

What is the optimal escape trajectory from near a black hole?

Consider a space ship that is being drawn closer to a black hole. The crew begins to notice the effects, and discovers that they are nearing the black hole. They then manage to halt their ...
4
votes
2answers
93 views

Does rotation affect gravitational lines of force

I was reading about rotating pulsars and other more-massive objects spinning at absurd speeds (hundreds of revolutions per second), and there was one point of which I was not clear. Does a rotation ...
4
votes
1answer
87 views

The role of gravity during planetesimal accretion

As far as I understand, during the formation of a planetary disc, grains of dust stick together due to collisions and chemical bonding. Considering the size of the grain - say, 1 mm - and the speed - ...
4
votes
2answers
404 views

What would happen if a body were to fall into a neutron star?

We know neutron stars as a very massive object with extremely strong gravitational forces that composes mostly of neutrons. I couldn't help but wonder, what would happen if an object fell into a ...
4
votes
1answer
161 views

Lack of planets in the Oort Cloud

With the current news about the possibility of a planet in the Oort cloud, I was thinking, why is the matter in the Oort cloud distributed so? It makes sense that inside the planet region there is not ...
4
votes
1answer
124 views

Maximum Amplitude of a Lissajous Orbiting Object in a L4 or L5 Position

I stumbled on The Lagrangian points during some wikipedia reading. After looking at the gravity contours, I naturally come to the conclusion that the L4 & L5 should have a wave pattern and then ...
4
votes
1answer
87 views

What's the smallest scale at which dark matter has been measured?

What is the smallest scale at which we have detected "dark matter" (more kinetic energy than would be predicted)? If you don't mind indulging a follow-up: Would its detection on smaller scales be ...
3
votes
4answers
536 views

Why don't we feel the speed of earth moving

When we move our vehicle, we "feel" the speed of it. However, when stationary, we still are moving,but moving by quiet a speed. We know that earth moves with X ...
3
votes
4answers
773 views

Is Earth's 1g solid surface gravity unusually high for exoplanets?

The surface gravities of the Sun’s planets are all close to 1g, 0.38-2.53 (about a factor of e, by chance). The cloud-top gravity of the gas giants is not too interesting here, but I suppose that the ...
3
votes
3answers
201 views

Why doesn't the sun pull the moon away from earth?

If the suns gravitational pull is strong enough to hold much larger masses in place (all the planets) and at much greater distances (all planets further away from the sun then earth) why does it not ...
3
votes
2answers
94 views

If the moon still had a magnetic field how long would have been possible to keep an atmosphere?

Let's assume the Moon had a considerable magnetic field to prevent the atmosphere dispersion caused by solar wind. Given the low gravity of the Moon, how many years would pass before all the gases (of ...