Physics

Gravity explained with some fun facts

Olawunmi Omosanya - Thu, 18th April, 2019 @ 11:26: AM

What is Gravity?

Before we look into the fun facts of gravity, I think it's is great idea for us to first understand what gravity really is? Gravity is a force of attraction. The exact reason why it’s pulling all things is yet to be ascertained by scientists. Think of it like a magnet trying to pull together anything that has mass. Recall that mass is the quantity of matter a body has. Read our previous article on mass HERE. The earth is governed by the force of gravity and that’s why everything present on earth (humans, plants, animals and even air) is glued to it.

Note: Gravity holds the air we breathe towards earth. As you move away from the earth, the air becomes thinner until it vanishes. This is why astronauts wear oxygen mask when they are in space.

You will actually need some force larger than gravity in order to pull yourself away from the earth. For instance, the earth as we know is spherical in shape and held in space. All humans live on 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 earth? Also recall that the earth rotates round its axis and yet humans don't fall off it. 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, for anything to leave the earth; there has to be a force stronger that gravity applied by whatever is attempting to leave the earth. This is why whenever you jump, a certain amount of force was applied by you, but gravity still brings you down because the applied force had been exhausted. The reason while planes and jets leave the earth is simply because they keep applying a force that is always stronger than gravity throughout their flight.

The earth has got one natural satellite which happens to be the moon and many artificial satellites (Think of a satellite as either a machine or moon or planet that revolves around a larger body. For instance, the earth is also a satellite because it revolves round the sun). The earth's satellites will keep revolving around the earth just because the earth constantly holds them close via the force of gravity. Even the moon has its own force of gravity. In short, everything on the universe has gravity and that’s why they are all held in space. This will include all the planets, the moon, sun, stars and so on. The larger the size of an object, the greater it’s force of gravity. Gravity is 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 imply that we will weigh different in both places because weight varies (it depends on how the gravity of the earth or moon or another planet pulls us). Mass always remains the same since it’s the stuff we are made of.

We can escape earth’s gravitation pull by travelling far away from the earth into space. Since the space is empty (just a space) and has no gravity, we will end up floating in it.

Note: It is not compulsory that the force of gravity must pull everything into contacting themselves. It can also bring objects close and not necessarily into contact. For instance the moon, sun, stars and other planets does not make contact with the earth but rather, they have varying proximity to it as a result of gravity. Other planets also have their moons that revolve around them and this is also as a result of gravity that exists between these planets and their respective moons.

The scientists Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Eistein have been credited with the explanation of gravity.

 

Now that we have some understanding of gravity, below are some facts concerning gravity.

  1. Your weight changes as you travel away from the earth.

  2. The human body begins to malfunction when gravity is not present. This will result because we will begin to float in the absence of gravity, thus resulting in weaker muscles and bones since they are not utilized.

  3. In a vacuum (a space completely empty of matter), if you dropped a ball and a feather simultaneously from the same height, they will both land at the exact same time as a result of gravity. Gravity therefore moves all things at the same rate, regardless the weight and provided the environment has no matter in it.

  4. When we dig the earth until we get into its center, we will have no weight as a result of lack of gravity.

  5. Although the earth rotates and we are on it, we will not fall off it.

  6. Sir Isaac Newton was not hit by an apple as shown in many pictures. (He only pondered if the force that made apples fall actually involves the movement of the moon around the earth).

  7. The force of gravity is actually the weakest force among the four forces that govern the universe; the others being Electromagnetism, Strong Nuclear Force and Weak Nuclear Force.

  8. Spinning an object can create artificial gravity.

  9. You will weigh more on Jupiter than on earth because of its size. (The bigger the size, the larger the force of gravity).

Topics in Physics

Important Physics Concepts Fundamental and Derived units Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics Gravity explained with some fun facts Concept of Heat and Temperature Heat Transfer, Conduction, Convection and Radiation



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