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.

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How does gravity escape a black hole?

My understanding is that light can not escape from within a black hole (within the event horizon). I've also heard that information cannot propagate faster than the speed of light. It would seem to ...
111
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15answers
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How do I explain to a 6 year old why people on the other side of the Earth don't fall off? [closed]

Today a friend's 6 year old sister asked me the question "why don't people on the other side of the earth fall off?". I tried to explain that the Earth is a huge sphere and there's a special force ...
57
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10answers
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How can I stand on the ground? EM or/and Pauli?

There is this famous example about the order difference between gravitational force and EM force. All the gravitational force of Earth is just countered by the electromagnetic force between the ...
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4answers
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Why would spacetime curvature cause gravity?

It is fine to say that for an object flying past a massive object, the spacetime is curved by the massive object, and so the object flying past follows the curved path of the geodesic, so it "appears" ...
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7answers
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The speed of gravity?

Sorry for the layman question, but it's not my field. Suppose this thought experiment is performed. Light takes 8 minutes to go from the surface of the Sun to Earth. Imagine the Sun is suddenly ...
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Explaining to a five year old - why don't bubbles run like water

My five-year old daughter was asking about astronauts the other day and why they float in space. After me showing her a few bits on the kids section on the NASA web site I started explaining about the ...
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5answers
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How exactly does gravity work?

The electromagnetic force and strong and weak forces require particles like photons and gluons. But in case of gravity there is no such particle found. Every mass bearing object creates a ...
37
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4answers
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When a star becomes a black hole, does its gravitational field strength become stronger?

I've seen in a documentary that when a star collapses and becomes a black hole, it starts to eat the planets around. But it has the same mass, so how does its gravitational field strength increase?
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Why are our planets in the solar system all on the same disc/plane/layer?

I always see pictures of the solar system where our sun is in the middle and the planets surround the sun. All these planets move on orbits on the same layer. Why?
29
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Why can't we feel the Earth turning?

The Earth turns with a very high velocity, around its own axis and around the Sun. So why can't we feel that it's turning, but we can still feel earthquake.
29
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2answers
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What forces are at work causing sand to migrate to the centre of a spinning bucket of water? [duplicate]

A bucket is filled with water and a handful of sand. The water is then spun. Why and what forces are in play which cause the sand particles to congregate in the centre of the bucket?
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6answers
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Can I survive a free fall using a ramp and a rope?

Can I survive a free fall by carrying a very light and resistant ramp using a rope? Note: lets assume the ramp is a little bit heavier at the bottom and I am very skilled at making it always land ...
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12answers
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How can anything ever fall into a black hole as seen from an outside observer?

The event horizon of a black hole is where gravity is such that not even light can escape. This is also the point I understand that according to Einstein time dilation will be infinite for a ...
25
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4answers
850 views

Are modified theories of gravity credible?

I'm a statistician with a little training in physics and would just like to know the general consensus on a few things. I'm reading a book by John Moffat which basically tries to state how GR makes ...
25
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5answers
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Is the graviton hypothetical?

Wikipedia lists the graviton as a hypothetical particle. I wonder whether graviton is indeed hypothetical or does its existence directly follow from modern physics? Does observation of gravitational ...
25
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2answers
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Why is gravity such a unique force?

My knowledge on this particular field of physics is very sketchy, but I frequently hear of a theoretical "graviton", the quantum of the gravitational field. So I guess most physicists' assumption is ...
24
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8answers
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How exactly does curved space-time describe the force of gravity?

I understand that people explain (in layman's terms at least) that the presence of mass "warps" space-time geometry, and this causes gravity. I have also of course heard the analogy of a blanket or ...
23
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4answers
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Would you be weightless at the center of the Earth?

If you could travel to the center of the Earth (or any planet), would you be weightless there?
23
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5answers
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Could gravity be an emergent property of nature?

Sorry if this question is naive. It is just a curiosity that I have. Are there theoretical or experimental reasons why gravity should not be an emergent property of nature? Assume a standard model ...
22
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5answers
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Artificial gravity on rotating spaceship?

One of the possible ways to simulate gravity in outer space is to have a rotating spaceship, so that the centrifugal force experienced provides a gravity-like force. My question is: shouldn't this ...
22
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2answers
167 views

experimental bounds on spacetime torsion

Did Gravity Probe B provide any bounds on Einstein-Cartan torsion? is a non-zero torsion value at odds with the results regarding frame-dragging and geodetic effects?
21
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6answers
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How can a black hole emit X-rays?

Considering that a black hole's gravity prevents light from escaping, how can a black hole emit X-rays? Visible light and X-rays are both electromagnetic radiation, shouldn't the black hole's gravity ...
21
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1answer
351 views

Vasiliev Higher Spin Theory and Supersymmetry

Recently there is renewed interest in the ideas of Vasiliev, Fradkin and others on generalizing gravity theories on deSitter or Anti-deSitter spaces to include higher spin fields (utilizing known ...
20
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8answers
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What are the reasons to expect that gravity should be quantized?

What I am interested to see are specific examples/reasons why gravity should be quantized. Something more than "well, everything else is, so why not gravity too". For example, isn't it possible that a ...
20
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8answers
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Why are L4 and L5 lagrangian points stable?

This diagram from wikipedia shows the gravitational potential energy of the sun-earth two body system, and demonstrates clearly the semi-stability of the L1, L2, and L3 lagrangian points. The blue ...
20
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7answers
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Is it theoretically possible to shield gravitational fields or waves?

Electromagnetic waves can be shielded by a perfect conductor. What about gravitational fields or waves?
20
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2answers
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Kerr Geometry, Separability and Twistors

One of the remarkable properties of the Kerr black hole geometry is that scalar field equations separate and are exactly solvable (reducible to quadrature), even though naively it does not have enough ...
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5answers
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How does gravitational lensing account for Einstein's Cross?

Einstein's Cross has been attributed to gravitational lensing. However, most examples of gravitational lensing are crescents known as Einstein's rings. I can easily understand the rings and crescents, ...
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3answers
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Why doesn't a fly fall off the wall?

Pretty simple question, but not an obvious answer at least not to me. I mean you can't just place a dead fly on the wall and expect it to stay there, he will fall off due to gravity. At first I ...
19
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5answers
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Does antimatter curve spacetime in the opposite direction as matter?

According to the Dirac equation, antimatter is the negative energy solution to the following relation: $$E^2 = p^2 c^2 + m^2 c^4.$$ And according to general relativity, the Einstein tensor (which ...
19
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5answers
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How close does light have to be, to orbit a perfect sphere the size and mass of Earth?

The moon orbits Earth at about $380,\!000 \,\mathrm{km}$ away from it, at around $3,600 \,\mathrm{km}$ an hour. I was thinking, with light traveling at $300,\!000 \,\mathrm{km/s}$, how close to ...
19
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1answer
361 views

Flames with no gravity?

I was watching "Solaris" (Tarkovsky) today, and noticed this: in some moment the space station changed orbit and the people inside experienced zero-gravity. At that moment, a candlestick passed ...
19
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2answers
698 views

Gravitational slingshot of light using a black hole/massive object

Wikipedia has this page on gravity assists using planets. In some cases this effect was used to accelerate the spacecraft to a higher velocity. This diagram shows this in a very oversimplified manner. ...
18
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2answers
469 views

How do spiral arms form?

Why aren't all spinning galaxies shaped as discs as my young mind would expect? I understand how the innermost parts of a galaxy spin faster than the outer parts, and that could explain why some ...
18
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1answer
532 views

Why the galaxies forms 2D plane (or spiral-like) instead of 3D ball (or spherical-like)?

Question: As we know (1) the macroscopic spatial dimension of our universe is 3 dimension, and (2) Gravity attracts massive objects together and the gravitational force is isotropic without ...
18
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2answers
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Why aren't gas planets and stars fuzzy? [duplicate]

The edge of Jupiter looks very sharp. Even more bothersome, the edge of the sun looks sharp, aside from kind of a soup of particles floating above it. The sun's surface has an incredibly low ...
17
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3answers
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How do crocodiles jump?

In a video (Here), I saw crocodiles jump vertically about three meters without using any solid surface. The wonderful thing is that when they start to jump, their vertical velocity is approximately ...
17
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6answers
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Why do we still need to think of gravity as a force?

Firstly I think shades of this question have appeared elsewhere (like here, or here). Hopefully mine is a slightly different take on it. If I'm just being thick please correct me. We always hear ...
16
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7answers
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What does it mean to say “Gravity is the weakest of the forces”?

I can understand that on small scales (within an atom/molecule), the other forces are much stronger, but on larger scales, it seems that gravity is a far stronger force; e.g. planets are held to the ...
16
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6answers
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Is the quantization of gravity necessary for a quantum theory of gravity?

The other day in my string theory class, I asked the professor why we wanted to quantize gravity, in the sense that we want to treat the metric on space-time as a quantum field, as opposed to, for ...
16
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2answers
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Does a photon exert a gravitational pull?

I know a photon has zero rest mass, but it does have plenty of energy. Since energy and mass are equivalent does this mean that a photon (or more practically, a light beam) exerts a gravitational pull ...
16
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2answers
799 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
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5answers
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Why is gravitation force always attractive?

Why is the gravitation force always attractive? Is there a way to explain this other than the curvature of space time? PS: If the simple answer to this question is that mass makes space-time curve ...
16
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2answers
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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 ...
16
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5answers
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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 ...
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7answers
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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
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2answers
415 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
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3answers
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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
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3answers
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...