Gravity is an attractive force that affects and is effected by all mass and - in general relativity - energy, pressure and stress. Prefer newtonian-gravity or general-relativity if sensible.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

17
votes
5answers
2k views

Why doesn't matter clump together such that it can't be taken apart again?

Given the inverse square law force of gravity shouldn't two particles that are infinitely close to each other be infinitely attracted to one another? For example, suppose the hands of some super deity ...
17
votes
6answers
2k views

Does the curvature of spacetime theory assume gravity?

Whenever I read about the curvature of spacetime as an explanation for gravity, I see pictures of a sheet (spacetime) with various masses indenting the sheet to form "gravity wells." Objects which are ...
17
votes
3answers
3k views

Nature of gravity: gravitons, curvature of space-time or both?

General relativity tells us that what we perceive as gravity is curvature of space-time. On the other hand (as I understand it) gravity can be understood as a force between objects which are ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

How do horseshoe orbits work?

An asteroid was recently discovered that is in a horseshoe orbit with respect to the earth. Is there an intuitive explanation for these orbits? It seems that the earth acts as a repulsive force where ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

Is Newton's universal gravitational constant the inverse of permittivity of mass in vacuum?

Is it possible to consider Newton's universal gravitational constant, $G$, as inverse of vacuum permittivity of mass? $$\epsilon_m=\frac {1}{4\pi G}$$ if so, then vacuum permeability of mass will ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is there no Gravitational Magnetic Field?

We think that the electric field and gravitational field operate similarly with their corresponding charges/masses. With just a difference that the electric field is sometimes attractive and sometimes ...
16
votes
5answers
1k views

What is a good mathematical description of the Non-renormalizability of gravity?

By now everybody knows that gravity is non-renormalizable, what is often lacking is a simplified mathematical description of what that means. Can anybody provide such a description?
16
votes
2answers
863 views

If energy is only defined up to a constant, can we really claim that ground state energy has an absolute value?

Sorry if this is really naive, but we learned in Newtonian physics that the total energy of a system is only defined up to an additive constant, since you can always add a constant to the potential ...
16
votes
5answers
3k views

Is Gravity an entropic force after all?

Recently, there was a rapid communication published in Phys.Rev.D (PRD 83, 021502), titled "Gravity is not an entropic force", that claimed that an experiment performed in 2002 with ultra cold ...
15
votes
7answers
2k views

How can space and time arise from nothing?

Lawrence Krauss said this on an Australian Q&A programme. "...when you apply quantum mechanics to gravity, space itself can arise from nothing as can time..." Can you elaborate on this please? ...
15
votes
5answers
3k views

Why does a star collapse under its own gravity when the gravity at its centre is zero?

The gravity at the centre of a star is zero as in the case of any uniform solid sphere with some mass. When a massive star dies, why does it give rise to a black hole at it's centre? I know how to ...
15
votes
2answers
511 views

Does gravity travel at the speed of light? [duplicate]

Whenever I did calculations in high school physics involving gravity, it was either "a ball falling to the earth" type scenario, or a basic measurement of the gravitational attraction between two ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Wouldn't angular momentum of a binary star system decrease?

Consider a binary star system, as these stars go around one another they would emit gravitational waves. Since, the graviton is a spin 2 particle. Wouldn't the angular momentum of the stars decrease? ...
15
votes
6answers
2k views

Is Newton's Law of Gravity consistent with General Relativity?

By 'Newton's Law of Gravity', I am referring to The magnitude of the force of gravity is proportional to the product of the mass of the two objects and inversely proportional to their distance ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Why don't I feel pressure on my body when swimming under water?

If I put a couple of lead bricks on my foot, there would be a definite sensation of a heavy, perhaps even painful, force. Calculating the pressure for $20 kg$ of lead over a $100 cm^2$ area of my ...
15
votes
1answer
176 views

Instantons and Non Perturbative Amplitudes in Gravity

In perturbative QFT in flat spacetime the perturbation expansion typically does not converge, and estimates of the large order behaviour of perturbative amplitudes reveals ambiguity of the ...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

Gravity on a doughnut-shaped/Möbius planet

How different would the effects of gravity be if the planet we're on is in the shape of a torus (doughnut-shaped)? For an (approximately) spherical planet, it's slightly clear that objects would tend ...
14
votes
5answers
2k views

Why does no physical energy-momentum tensor exist for the gravitational field?

Starting with the Einstein-Hilbert Lagrangian $$ L_{EH} = -\frac{1}{2}(R + 2\Lambda)$$ one can formally calculate a gravitational energy-momentum tensor $$ T_{EH}^{\mu\nu} = -2 \frac{\delta ...
14
votes
2answers
4k views

Does gravity affect magnetism, vice-versa, or do they “ignore” each other?

I am suddenly struck by the question of whether gravitation affects magnetism in some way. On the other hand, gravity is a weak force, but magnetism seems to be a strong force, so would magnetism ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Can He-4 atoms create black holes?

Suppose that in the intergalactic space far from any significant gravitational attractors there is a relatively small concentration of He-4 atoms. Due to gravitational attraction fermions in this case ...
14
votes
2answers
424 views

Why is Jupiter so sharply defined?

In photographs of Jupiter, the limb seems extremely definite. Being a gas giant, my naive self thinks that the atmosphere should have a more gradual cut off, creating a hazy effect similar to that on ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Significance of the second focus in elliptical orbits

1.In classical mechanics, using Newton's laws, the ellipticity of orbits is derived. It is also said that the center of mass is at one of the foci. 2.Each body will orbit the center of the mass of ...
14
votes
3answers
927 views

Does relativistic mass have weight?

If an object was sliding on an infinitely long friction-less floor on Earth with relativistic speeds (ignoring air resistance), would it exert more vertical weight force on the floor than when it's at ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Why can't General Relativity be written in terms of physical variables?

I am aware that the field in General Relativity (the metric, $g_{\mu\nu}$) is not completely physical, as two metrics which are related by a diffeomorphism (~ a change in coordinates) are physically ...
14
votes
1answer
219 views

Is period of rotation relative?

My question is inspired by the following answer by voix to another problem: "There is a real object with relativistic speed of surface - millisecond pulsar. The swiftest spinning pulsar currently ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is a black hole black?

In general relativity (ignoring Hawking radiation), why is a black hole black? Why nothing, not even light, can escape from inside a black hole? To make the question simpler, say, why is a ...
13
votes
5answers
5k views

Why do rockets have multiple stages?

What is the advantage for rockets to have multiple stages? Wouldn't a single stage with the same amount of fuel weigh less? Note I would like a quantitative answer, if possible :-)
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Can one black hole suck in another black hole?

In the recent news, scientists at NASA have found “unprecedented” black hole cluster near Andromeda’s central bulge. I wonder why doesn't all these black holes merge and such each other in until just ...
13
votes
6answers
804 views

Particle wavefunction and gravity

Suppose a particle has 50% probability of being at location $A$, and 50% probability being at location $B$ (see double slit experiment). According to QM the particle is at both $A$ and $B$ at the same ...
13
votes
4answers
644 views

Coulomb's Law in the presence of a strong gravitational field

I was under the impression that the $1/r^2$ falloff of various forces were because of the way the area of a expanding sphere scales. But that strict $1/r^2$ falloff would only be globally true in a ...
13
votes
3answers
616 views

what is this force that is able to surpass an entire planet's force on it?

I have a wet teabag in an empty cup. If I will hold the teabag and touch the wall of cup with it, it will stick to the cup, like there would be glue or some magnetic field, but there's just water. ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

“Speed” of Gravity and Speed of Light

Some threads here touching speed of gravity made me think about that. This lead to some questions. The speed of gravity was not measured until today (at least there are no undebated papers to that ...
13
votes
2answers
431 views

How Come gravity doesn't affect itself?

If gravity is this "unexplainable force" that pulls everything to the center of a planet or stellar remnant you stand upon, why doesn't gravity pull itself? If gravity effects anything with energy, ...
13
votes
3answers
556 views

What limitations are there in measuring physical properties accurately?

In a StackOverflow answer, I attempted to explain why a 32-bit float was perfectly adequate for representing the questioner's weight measurement: Physical properties are inaccurately measured ...
12
votes
8answers
4k views

Is gravity just electromagnetic attraction?

Recently, I was pondering over the thought that is most of the elementary particles have intrinsic magnetism, then can gravity be just a weaker form of electromagnetic attraction? But decided the ...
12
votes
7answers
2k views

What is the proof that the universal constants ($G$, $\hbar$, $\ldots$) are really constant in time and space?

Cavendish measured the gravitation constant $G$, but actually he measured that constant on the Earth. What’s the proof that the value of the gravitation constant if measured on Neptune would remain ...
12
votes
4answers
792 views

Why do all the planets of the solar system orbit in roughly the same 2D plane?

Most images you see of the solar system are 2D and all planets orbit in the same plane. In a 3D view, are really all planets orbiting in similar planes? Is there a reason for this? I'd expect that ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the weight equation through general relativity?

The gravitational force on your body, called your weight, pushes you down onto the floor. $$W=mg$$ So, what is the weight equation through general relativity?
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Why does gravity need to be quantised?

The electroweak and strong forces seem to be completely different types of forces to gravity. The latter is geometric while the former are not (as far as I'm aware!). So why should they all be ...
12
votes
4answers
939 views

Why is there a search for an exchange particle for gravity?

If I understand correctly, according to Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, mass results in a distortion in space-time. In turn, the motion of the mass is affected by the distortion. A result of ...
12
votes
1answer
852 views

If two ultra-relativistic billiard balls just miss, will they still form a black hole?

This forum seems to agree that a billiard ball accellerated to ultra-relativistic speeds does not turn into a black hole. (See recent question "If a 1kg mass was accelerated close to the speed of ...
12
votes
1answer
89 views

Relationship between Weak Cosmic Censorship and Topological Censorship

The weak cosmic censorship states that any singularity cannot be in the causual past of null infinity (reference). The topological censorship hypothesis states that in a globally hyperbolic, ...
12
votes
3answers
11k views

How do we determine the mass of a black hole?

Since by definition we cannot observe black holes directly, how do astronomers determine the mass of a black hole? What observational techniques are there that would allow us to determine a black ...
12
votes
7answers
6k views

Tesla's theory of gravity

I was reading up on Tesla's Wikipedia page last night, and I came across this: When he was 81, Tesla stated he had completed a "dynamic theory of gravity". He stated that it was "worked out ...
12
votes
5answers
38k views

jumping into water

Two questions: Assuming you dive head first or fall straight with your legs first, what is the maximal height you can jump into water from and not get hurt? In other words, an H meter fall into ...
12
votes
1answer
629 views

Is this a quaternion representation of the equations of motion of General Relativity?

In The Quaternion Group and Modern Physics by P.R. Girard, the quaternion form of the general relativistic equation of motion is derived from $du'/ds = (d a / d s ) u {a_c}^* + a u ( d {a_c}^* / ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there a fundamental reason why gravitational mass is the same as inertial mass?

The principle of equivalence - that, locally, you can't distinguish between a uniform gravitational field and a non-inertial frame accelerating in the sense opposite to the gravitational field - is ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

The square in the Newton's law of universal gravitation is really a square?

When I was in the university (in the late 90s, circa 1995) I was told there had been research investigating the $2$ (the square of distance) in the Newton's law of universal gravitation. ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Is dark matter repulsive to dark matter? Why?

I think I saw in a video that if dark matter wasn't repulsive to dark matter, it would have formed dense massive objects or even black holes which we should have detected. So, could dark matter be ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Does a guitar sound different in zero (or micro) gravity?

Seeing a video of astronaut Chris Hadfield playing a guitar on the International Space Station made me wonder if a guitar or other stringed instrument played in zero-G would sound any different than ...