What is the force of gravity? Concept, Discovery and Examples

What is the force of gravity?

We explain what gravity is, how it was discovered and by whom. In addition, some examples of this force.

What is the force of gravity

Gravity determines the movements of planets orbiting the Sun, for example.

It is known by force of gravity or simply gravity, to one of the fundamental interactions of nature, due to which the bodies endowed with mass attract each other in a reciprocal way and with a greater intensity in the measure in which they are more voluminous.

The principle governing this interaction is known as “gravitation” or “gravitational interaction”, and responds in physics to what is described by the Law of Universal Gravitation.

It is the same attraction that the Earth exerts on the bodies and objects that rest on its surface, including us, and that makes things fall.

It also determines the movements of space stars, such as planets orbiting the Sun or moons and artificial satellites orbiting those planets.

Unlike the other fundamental interactions in the Universe (which are strong and weak nuclear forces and electromagnetism), the force of gravity inexplicably predominates over enormous distances, while the others occur over much shorter distances.

Since it is a force, gravity is usually measured using different formulas, depending on whether it is a mechanical (classical) or relativistic physical approach.

It is usually represented in kilograms of force, that is, in Newtons (N) or, also, by the acceleration it imprints on the objects on which it acts, which on the earth’s surface reaches about 9.80665 m/s2.

Who discovered the force of gravity?

The Law of Gravitation was discovered by Isaac Newton in 1687.

The force of gravity was not properly “discovered”, since its effects are known from the principles of humanity and thought.

However, the Law of Universal Gravitation that explains and allows it to be calculated was proposed by Isaac Newton in 1687, allegedly after receiving the impact of an apple on his head while resting in the English countryside.

Such an event would have revealed to the English scientist that the same force that makes things fall to the ground keeps the planets in their orbit with respect to the Sun and their satellites with respect to them. This was a turning point in the history of modern physics.

Later, the physicist Albert Einstein in the 20th century, based on Newton and his own findings, postulated his Theory of General Relativity, in which he reformulated some aspects of Newtonian gravitation.

This inaugurated a new perspective on gravity, known as relativistic. According to her, gravity would not be a measure of universal force, but a variable one, and it would only affect space but also the passing of time.

Examples of Gravity Force

The force of gravity can be seen in the following examples:

  • The free fall of a body on the earth’s surface, the simplest example. The mass of the planet attracts us to it, and acts on our mass printing at the rate of fall an acceleration in time. That’s why an object that falls for a minute hits harder than one that falls for a second.
  • An object thrown into the sky, like a cannonball, for the same reasons, will fly in a straight line until it suffers a loss of acceleration, fruit of the force of gravity, curving its trajectory. When the explosion exceeds the initial force of the explosion, the object will fall and stop moving.
  • The orbiting of the Moon around our planet is due to the fact that the Moon is trapped in its gravitational field at such a distance that it cannot move away in a straight line, nor can it collapse towards us and fall.

Attracted by their enormous force of gravity, many meteorites enter the atmosphere of Jupiter, Saturn and other massive planets, torn from their natural orbit around the Sun (also due to the Sun’s gravitation) and placed in a collision trajectory with these planets.

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