Questions tagged [gravity]

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

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4answers
9k views

Is Earth's Surface “In orbit”?

I'm having trouble understanding relative angular/tangential speeds at increasing altitudes above Earth's surface. In particular, I find this comparison of tangential velocities on Wikipedia very ...
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871 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 ...
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Can dark matter be found in the shape of planets, galaxies etc.?

If dark matter has gravity just like normal matter, does that mean it can also form planets, solar systems and so on? Any answer will be appreciated.
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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?
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3answers
873 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 ...
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1answer
423 views

Will gravitational waves too far away ever reach us?

Gravity is the curvature of spacetime, and its effects travel at lightspeed. However, space is expanding; eventually, light from distant galaxies will become more and more redshifted, and we will no ...
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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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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6answers
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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 ...
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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 ...
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882 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 ...
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Is a perfectly circular orbit possible?

Let's assume that there is a perfectly spherical planet and there is a moon which is also perfectly spherical. Let's assume that there is no atmospheric drag and no other gravitational pull. If the ...
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1answer
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Could dark matter be wrong? [duplicate]

As I understand, the evidence for dark matter is the observation of the gravitational dynamics of objects around the size of galaxies and above. They move in a way such that the equations imply there ...
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Are black holes really singularities?

Can't black holes just be super dense objects? They could still be black (having the color of black never really required special physics, after all) and have a really strong gravitational field. If ...
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4answers
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Why is gravity only an attractive force?

As per the universal law of attraction, any two bodies (having some mass) experience a force of 'attraction' which is proportionate to ...and ...inverse proportionate .... Then comes my question: Why ...
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2answers
991 views

How can gravitational waves escape from the gravity of black hole?

I know that even light can't escape from a black hole's gravity and the velocity of light and gravitational waves are the same. How can only gravitational waves escape from its gravity?
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The deduction of the Hill Sphere formula

This question may be a little lazy, but can anybody give me a proof of the Hill sphere formula? Acording to wikipedia, the formula for the radius, $r$, is $$r\approx a(1-e)\left(\frac{m}{3M}\right)^{...
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515 views

Why black holes have positive energy?

How could Hawking get the conclusion "[...] and black holes have positive energy. That’s why empty space is stable. Bodies such as stars or black holes cannot just appear out of nothing. But a whole ...
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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 ...
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Gravitational Properties of Asteroids

How large would an asteroid have to be in order to hold a person so that the person could not escape?
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Can I leave a planet without achieving escape velocity?

I know that if you exceed orbital velocity, you will never fall-back to the planet. My question is not about orbits. It's about brute-force propulsion to achieve altitude. I'm using an ...
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Do asteroids have a gravitational field?

I know that asteroids are huge chunks of rock, orbiting a solar system. Do asteroids have a gravitational field and do they gravitationally attract each other to form planets?
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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 ...
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Gravitational acceleration inside a planet

The gravitational acceleration, g, inside the Earth generally decreases with decreasing distance to the center: However, apparently for Jupiter, the gravitational acceleration only increases with ...
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Are white dwarf stars supported by proton degeneracy as well?

In general, fermions form a degenerate gas under high density or extremely low temperature. It's clear that white dwarf stars are supported by electron degeneracy pressure. However, there are still a ...
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What is spacetime 'made' of?

General relativity is often explained as saying spacetime is curved by gravity, what does this mean? How could we perceive a curve in spacetime when there is no external "straight" reference frame for ...
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Is it possible for a moon to continuously have a side facing its star whilst orbiting a planet?

For example; is there any possibility for the moon to always have a side facing the Sun whilst orbiting Earth? And if so then what would the day cycle be like?
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How was the hypothetical ninth planet kicked so far out of the Solar System?

I was reading this article on science news and ran into the following statement: Such a remote super-Earth probably originated closer to the sun only to be kicked out by the other giant planets ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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139 views

Can the moon's gravity influence be observed on the space station's orbit?

In browsing through Astronomy Stack Exchange, I came across this question about orbiting the moon (Is it possible to achieve a stable "lunarstationary" orbit around the moon?). In further ...
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Dark Energy Expansion

The new Cosmos extra features mentions that at about 6,771,500,000 years ago the universe began an accelerated expansion. How do we know this? What evidence do we have for this renewed and accelerated ...
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Could dark energy be negative gravity?

Main question: Could dark energy (the mysterious accelerating expansion of the universe) be explained by "negative gravity"? "Spin off" questions: Does antimatter have negative gravity? If ...
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Lack of objects between heliopause and Oort cloud?

If we take a look at a logarithmic scale of the Solar System, there appears to be a large gap between the heliopause and the Oort cloud: Why is that? There are some objects in the gap, but why are ...
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Are there upper or lower mass limits for black holes?

Natarajan & Treister (2008) describes a practical upper limit for black hole masses at $\sim 10^{10} M_\odot$. This is all due to the black hole's interactions with nearby matter. However, is ...
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Spinning black hole vs non spinning black hole

Does a spinning black hole have a stronger gravity than a non spinning one.After all, a spinning black hole is stretching space-time more, so does that make a difference is gravity?
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1answer
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What it would look like to observe people with a different time flows?

As I learned, that the bigger gravity source you are influenced by the more slow time ticks for you, the farther away you are from a gravity source the faster times ticks. So Imagine two different ...
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Horseshoe orbits and integration in C

I'm studying a particular case of the restricted three-body problem. It's been found that some objects follow a horseshoe orbit pattern, and I'm trying to sort out something through an integration ...
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What would happen if Jupiter and Earth were at the same distance as the Moon is from Earth?

If Spock came with a super machine capable of moving planets, and placed Earth so close to Jupiter as the Earth's moon, the gravity of Jupiter would make us fall into it?
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How precise are the observational measurements for the speed of gravity?

General Relativity says that gravity moves at the speed of c. How precise are the measurements?
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Explaining gravity assist to a 6-year old

We've been talking about Cassini with my 6-year old daughter recently and I've mentioned that it picked up more speed by passing close to Venus (twice), Earth and Jupiter. But then, I've struggled to ...
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If 50 tons or more of debris falls to earth everyday, is Earth getting heavier?

In turn, would that increase our gravitational pull?
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The size of the radius of the event horizon of a black hole created by the merger of a black hole binary system

Let's assume that you had a black hole binary system and everything said here is possible. Their large masses would lead to a large emission of gravitational waves. The loss of orbital energy and ...
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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 ...
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How can gravity lead to the Big Crunch scenario?

According to modern cosmology, space is expanding, causing proper distances (but not comoving distances) to increase between galaxies. In the Big Crunch hypothesis, gravity halts and reverses the ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
718 views

If earth changed its orbit, what would happen to the moon?

Let there be an accelerating force acting on earth over an arbitrarily long time to change its orbit around the sun (e.g. by asteroids repeatedly passing by close to earth (intentional or not) or ...
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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 ...
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Why do things float in space, though the gravity of our star is always present? [closed]

In the solar system, things float around. We are so certain that the gravity of our sun exists. Still, why does that gravity not influence satellites and other objects there? Our solar system is also ...
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How fast would Earth need to rotate to fling someone off due to centrifugal force?

If Earth started spinning fast enough, would the centrifugal force eventually overcome Earth's gravity enough enough to fling someone (let's assume 75 kg) into orbit or into space? If so, how fast ...