Universal Gravitation PhET Lab

Why everyone in this class is attracted everyone else.

Introduction:

Every object around you is attracted to you.  In fact, every object in the galaxy is attracted to every other object in the galaxy.  Newton postulated and Cavendish confirmed that all objects with mass are attracted to all other objects with mass by a force that is proportional to their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the objects’ centers.  This relationship became Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation.  In this simulation, you will look at two massive objects and their gravitational force between them to observe G, the constant of universal gravity that Cavendish investigated.

Important Formulas:

Procedure: PhET Simulations à Play with the Sims à Physics à Gravity Force Lab

1.      Take some time and familiarize yourself with the simulation.  Notice how forces change as mass changes and as distance changes.

2.      Fill out the chart below for various objects at various distances.

3.      Solve for the universal gravitation constant, G and compare it to published values.

Remember significant digits!

       Mass Object 1                   Mass Object 2                       Distance                                 Force                  Gravitation Constant,G

56.30 kg52.20 kg3.0 m  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

Average value of G:    ___________________                      Units of G:      ___________________

Published value of G:  ___________________                     Source:            ___________________

How did your value of G compare to the published value you found? __________________________________

The centripetal acceleration of the moon around the earth
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