Physics

What is gravity? Concept of gravity on the solar system

len Alfred Ajibola - Thu, 18th April, 2019 @ 11:26 AM

Topics in Physics

Derived Units: Similarities and differences with fundamental units Gravity: Facts on Gravity Relative Density of Substances and Specific Gravity Types of Heat Transfer: Conduction Types of Heat Transfer: Convection Types of Heat Transfer: Radiation Physics Scheme of Work, SS1, First Term Physics Scheme of Work, SS1, Second Term Physics Scheme of Work, SS1, Third Term Velocity and Acceleration Newton's Laws of Motion Importance of Gravity What is Density? Density of various substances Concepts of Force and Motion in Physics Motion and Speed in Physics Concept of Heat Transfer Concepts of Heat and Temperature What is gravity? Concept of gravity on the solar system Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics: Thermal Equilibrium Fundamental Quantities and Units in Physics


Academic Questions in Physics

Please click here to see all Questions and Answers

A measurement of how much the velocity of an object changes with time is termed _____.

  • A. Displacement

  • B. Acceleration

  • C. Speed

  • D. Momentum

  • E. Velocity-Time graph

  • F. Average velocity

Which of the following differentiates velocity from speed?

  • A. Distance

  • B. Time

  • C. Momentum

  • D. Inertia

  • E. Direction

  • F. Distance and Time

FA = -FB

FA is the action force while FB is the reaction force.

The above statement expresses _____.

  • A. Force and Acceleration

  • B. Force and Gravity

  • C. Force and Momentum

  • D. Newton's first law of motion

  • E. Newton's second law of motion

  • F. Newton's third law of motion

A natural force that pulls a body towards the center of the earth is termed _____.

  • A. Centripetal force

  • B. Centrifugal force

  • C. Black hole

  • D. Average acceleration

  • E. Gravity

  • F. Momentum

A Greek letter that expresses density is _____.

  • A. Alpha_d

  • B. Beta_d

  • C. Theta_d

  • D. rho

  • E. dho

  • F. dhr

A glass of water has a higher density than an exact glass of oil.

  • A. True

  • B. False

An 🍎 apple 🍎 falling from a tree has an unbalanced force.

  • A. True

  • B. False

Force is a quantity measured in _____.

  • A. Kilogram

  • B. Gravity

  • C. Incandescence

  • D. Meter per second square (ms-1)

  • E. Mole

  • F. Newton


What is Gravity?

Gravity is a force of attraction. The exact reason why it pulls all things is yet to be ascertained by scientists.

Gravity is defined a natural force that pulls (or attracts) a body towards the center of the earth. It is also defined as a force that pulls a physical body with a lesser mass to another body with a greater mass. You may think of gravity as a magnet that pulls together anything that has mass.

Mass is defined as the quantity or amount of matter a body has.

Please read on the concept of matter here.


The earth is governed by the force of gravity and that’s why everything present on it, including humans, plants, animals and even air is always drawn towards it. To overcome gravity, one will need some form of force greater than gravity in order to pull oneself away from the earth.

Please read on the importance of gravity here.


As an instance, the earth as we know is spherical in shape and held in space. Also, all humans live on a constantly rotating earth (and not inside the earth). Since we live on a spherical earth held in space, how come humans are yet to fall off the constantly rotating earth?

Well, the answer is gravity. Even if we attempt to jump off the earth into space, the force of gravity present on earth will still pull us down. In fact, in order to leave the earth; there has to be a force stronger that gravity; which must be applied to whatever is attempting to leave the earth. For this reason: 'whenever one jumps, a certain amount of force must be applied by that person. However, gravity still return the person back to earth because the applied force had been exhausted.

Please read on the concepts of force and motion here.


Planes and jets leave the earth and remain in the atmosphere simply because a certain amount of force is constantly applied to it; and this force is always stronger than gravity throughout its flight.

Please read the interesting facts on gravity here.

Also, gravity holds the air we breathe towards earth. As one moves away from the earth, the air becomes thinner until it vanishes. This is why astronauts wear oxygen mask whenever they are in space.

You can read on the layers of the atmosphere here.


Gravity on earth and moon

It is important to understand that gravity is not even (the same) all round the surface of the earth. It is slighter stronger on earth surfaces with a greater mass underground than those with lesser masses.

The gravity on earth has also got some impact on its satellites. Think of a satellite as either a machine or moon or planet that revolves around a larger body.


The earth has got one natural satellite (that's the moon) and many artificial satellites. Interestingly, the earth is also a satellite to the sun. This is true because it revolves round the sun.

The earth's natural satellite (moon) constantly revolves around the earth because the earth draws it closer to itself via the force of gravity. Even the moon has its own force of gravity. In short, everything in the universe have got gravity acting on them and that is why they are all held in space. This will include all the planets, the moon, sun, stars and other components of the solar system.

Please read on the solar system here


The larger the size of an object, the greater its force of gravity. Gravity is therefore affected by the size and closeness of objects.

Since the earth is larger than the moon, it will have a greater gravitational force than the moon. We will be attracted more to the earth than we would on the moon if we were astronauts on the moon. This implies that we will weigh differently on both places. For this reason, our weight will also vary on the various planets (because they are of different sizes). This is shown in the diagram below:

Weights on planets - Len Academy


Weight depends on the degree at which the gravity on earth or moon or another planet pulls an object while the mass of any object or body will always remain the same (constant) since it is the amount or quantity of matter in the body.

Please read on mass and weight here


Gravity on the solar system

We can escape earth’s gravitation pull by travelling far away from the earth into space. Since the space is somewhat empty and has no gravity, we will end up floating in it because nothing attracts (pull) us in space. For this reason, astronauts will float in space as a result of a condition termed weightlessness. In simple terms, weightlessness results from a lack of gravity.


It is not compulsory that the force of gravity must pull everything into contacting themselves. It can also bring objects close to one another and not necessarily into contact. For instance the moon, sun, stars and other planets of the solar system does not make contact with the earth; rather, they have varying proximity to it as a result of gravity.

Please read on the planets of the solar system and their characteristics here

Other planets have their moons and they revolve around them. This is also a result of gravity that exists between these planets and their respective moons.


The scientists Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein have been credited for their insight and explanations on gravity.

Please read on the basic and fundamental concepts of physics here.

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Amazing facts in Physics

Leaning Tower of Pisa - Len Academy

The reason the Leaning Tower of Pisa is tilted is the same reason it's still standing

One quarter of an apple is filled with air and that's why they float in water

Alfred Noble - Len Academy

The Nobel price was named after its founder, Alfred Noble. He is a Swedish, born on October 21, 1833; and was the inventor of dynamite. He was also a a famous scientist and a successful business man.

Glass Ball - Len Academy

Glass balls bounce higher than rubber balls

Every planet has its own unique gravitational force. For instance, Mars has a gravity of 3.711 m/s2 while earth’s gravitational force is 9.807m/s2.

When two metals are put together in space, they will stick together as if they are welded. This phenomenon is called cold welding

The fastest animal on land is cheetah. It can reach a maximum speed of about 113km per hour.


NOTABLE POINTS IN Physics

If we have water of 100OC  in an aluminium cup whose temperature is the same as that of its surrounding; let’s say 22OC; We will observe the followings:

  1. The temperature of water inside the aluminum cup will begin to decrease from its initial 100OC.

  2. The temperature of the aluminium cup will increase from its previous 22OC.

  3. After some time, the temperature of the water, aluminium cup and the surrounding will become the same.

From the above instance, it can be deduced that the heat present in the water molecules are first transferred to the aluminium cup and subsequently to the surrounding.

Heat from water >> Aluminium Cup >> Surrounding

Meanwhile, understand that aluminium is a metal; and metals are good conductors of heat.

Eventually, the system (water and aluminum cup) together with the surrounding reaches the same temperature; and the heat transfer ceases. It is at this point that the water, aluminium cup and the surroundings are said to have reached a thermal equilibrium.

Please on the concept of heat and temperature here

Heat is never static. It is always transferred and thus: an object will increase its temperature by gaining heat energy from its surroundings while another object will simultaneously decrease its temperature by losing its heat energy to the surroundings. For this reason, we may also define temperature as:

The measure or ability of an object or substance to transfer heat energy to another object or substance.

The higher the temperature, the greater the ability of an object or substance to transfer heat. Conversely, the lower the temperature, the greater the tendency of an object to receive the transferred heat.

The point is: 'for heat to be transferred, we must have systems or objects or substances with varying temperatures

The earth is governed by the force of gravity and that’s why everything present on it (humans, plants, animals and even air) is always drawn towards it. You will actually need some form of force greater than gravity in order to pull yourself away from the earth.

As an instance, the earth as we know is spherical in shape and held in space. Also, all humans live on a constantly rotating earth and not inside the earth. Since we live on a spherical earth held in space, how come humans are yet to fall off the constantly rotating earth?

Well, the answer is gravity. Even if we attempt to jump off the earth into space, the force of gravity present on earth will still pull us down. In fact, in order to leave the earth; there has to be a force stronger that gravity; which must be applied to whatever is attempting to leave the earth. For this reason:

Whenever one jumps, a certain amount of force is needed to be applied by that person. However, gravity still return the person back to earth because the applied force had been exhausted.

Please read more on the concept of gravity here.

The larger the size of an object, the greater it’s force of gravity. Gravity is therefore affected by the size and closeness of objects.

Since the earth is larger than the moon, it will have a greater gravitational force than the moon. We will be more attracted on the earth than we would on the moon if we were astronauts on the moon. This implies that we will weigh differently on both places. For this reason, our weight will also vary on the various planets (because they are of different sizes). This is shown in the diagram below:

Weights on planets - Len Academy

Weight depends on the degree at which the gravity on earth or moon or another planet pulls an object while the Mass of any object or body will always remain the same (constant) since it’s the amount or quantity of matter in the body.

Please read on mass versus weight here

Zeroth Law - Len Academy

To better understand the Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics, we need to know what thermal equilibrium is. This is explained below:

Two bodies A and B are said to be in thermal equilibrium if each body can transfer heat to each other when placed closed together but ended up not transferring any heat to each other.

This will mean that both bodies are at equal temperature.

Now, according to the zeroth law, assuming we have three bodies namely X, Y and Z:

If X = Y and Z = Y, then X = Z

From the above expression, it will be observed that: if X and Y are in thermal equilibrium and Z and Y are in thermal equilibrium, therefore, X and Z must be in thermal equilibrium too.

So we can see that according to the zeroth law, temperature is a quantity worth measuring.

It can therefore be said that temperature is the quantity that remains constant (the same) for all systems in thermal equilibrium.

Consequently, the zeroth law of Thermodynamics states that if two separate bodies are in thermal equilibrium with another body, then they are also in equilibrium with each other

Please read more on the zeroth law of thermodynamics here