2
votes
2answers
78 views

Potential and kinetic energy on spherical surface

A small particle of mass $m$ is atop of a semi-sphere as shown in the figure. A little push was given to the particle. Prove that the particle will leave the spherical surface at a height of ...
4
votes
2answers
134 views

What is potential energy truly?

I have a problematic question for which I have been unable to attain a satisfactory answer. What is potential energy truly? - I have read about how potential energy can be seen as the "highering" ...
3
votes
1answer
85 views

Where does energy in a field come from?

Let us consider for example Earth's gravitational field. If we put a ball somewhere in this field, the ball starts to accelerate due to the gravitational force exerted on it. I understand the ...
1
vote
1answer
163 views

Why doesn't the potential energy of any object equal 0

Consider a particle on the ground. This particle is raised by a force of magnitude $mg$ to a height $h$ above the ground. At this point, the work done on the particle by the force is $mgh$, which is ...
2
votes
2answers
110 views

Actual meaning of “Gravitational Potential”?

In a gravitational field, the gravitational force acting on a body (of mass m) at a point x metres away from the attracting body (of mass M) is $\frac{GMm}{x^2}$. Integrating this force from a point ...
1
vote
2answers
194 views

Signs in proof of gravitation potential energy (GPE)

Proof of gravitational potential energy. Work done by gravity in bringing mass from infinity to a distance of $r$ between masses. When we use the integration formula and arrive at the answer we ...
1
vote
1answer
132 views

Gravitational binding energy and integrated potential energy not the same?

Before looking up the formula for the gravitational binding energy of a uniform sphere, I simply figured that the general formula for binding energy of an arbitrarily-shaped mass distribution would be ...
0
votes
1answer
191 views

Calculate magnitude of force acting on some area by falling object

I have simple question: is it possible to calculate magnitude of force acting on some area by falling object? Let's say I have an object with mass $5\text{ kg}$. I drop that object in height 1 ...
2
votes
4answers
463 views

Potential energy sign conventions

Almost every book on physics that I read have some weird and non-clear explanations regarding the potential energy. Ok, I do understand that if we integrate a force over some path, we'll get a ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Why is potential energy negative when orbiting in a gravitational field?

I had to do a problem, and part of it was to find the mechanical energy of satellite orbiting around mars, and I had all of the information I needed. I thought the total mechanical energy would be the ...
0
votes
2answers
126 views

Escape velocity to intersection of two gravitational fields

Find the minimal velocity needed for a meteorite of mass $m$ to get to earth from the moon. Hint: the distance between the center of earth and the center of moon is $\approx 60 R_E$, and the ...
1
vote
1answer
626 views

Gravitational potential energy of mass between two planets

Suppose I want to launch a rocket from earth to some point $O$ between the center of earth and the center of moon (on a straight line connecting their centers), where the gravitational force of the ...
5
votes
2answers
258 views

Gravitational potential outside Lagrangian points or Lagrange points

The diagram in Why are L4 and L5 lagrangian points stable? shows that the gravitational potential decreases outside the ring of Lagrange points — this image shows it even more clearly: If I ...
4
votes
4answers
788 views

what is the 2D gravity potential?

In 3D, I can calculate the total force due to gravity acting on a point on the surface of the unit sphere of constant density, where I choose units so that all physical constants (as well as the ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Still trying to understand gravitational potential and Poisson's equation?

A week or so back I asked a question about the gravitational potential field $$\phi=\frac{-Gm}{r}, \qquad r\neq 0, $$ and how to show the Laplacian of $\phi$ equals zero for $r\neq 0$? Eventually, ...
1
vote
2answers
250 views

Why no basis vector in Newtonian gravitational vector field?

In my textbook, the gravitational field is given by$$\mathbf{g}\left(\mathbf{r}\right)=-G\frac{M}{\left|\mathbf{r}\right|^{2}}e_{r}$$ which is a vector field. On the same page, it is also given as a ...
3
votes
1answer
772 views

Trying to understand Laplace's equation

I'm struggling here so please excuse if I'm writing nonsense. I understand that the gravitational potential field, a scalar field, is given by $$\phi=\frac{-Gm}{r}$$ where $\phi$ is the ...
4
votes
1answer
9k views

Why is gravitational potential energy negative, and what does that mean?

I usually think of gravitational potential energy as representing just what it sounds like: the energy that we could potentially gain, using gravity. However, the equation for it (derived by ...