Skip to main content
Geosciences LibreTexts

1.16: Gravity

  • Page ID
    9706
    • Contributed by Miracosta Oceanography 101
    • Sourced from Miracosta)

    Gravity

    Gravity is a weak but measurable force, but becomes observable when dealing with objects on the scale of moons, planets, and satellites launched into space. Understanding the very mysterious force of gravity is fundamental to characterizing the mechanics of the orbits of planets and moons within the Solar System (and objects moving throughout the universe). Using research by earlier astronomers, between 1609 and 1619, Johannes Kepler presented scientific laws that describe to character of the elliptical motion of planets around the sun. Isaac Newton used Kepler's laws to mathematically resolve the nature of gravity which he presented in 1687 as his Law of Universal Gravitation which states "a particle attracts every other particle in the Universe using a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses, and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them" (Figure 1.34). Gravity is a weak but measurable force, but becomes observable when dealing with objects on the scale of moons, planets, and satellites launched into space.

    Newton's law of universal gravitation illustrated.
    Figure 1.34. Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation.