Newton gave the formula for the attraction between two masses, which includes mention of the distance between the masses but doesn't specify a maximum distance, which leads me to believe that masses on the other side of the universe have an attractive force on me. Question is, supposing you could create some large mass, would the effects of it's attracting forces emanate from the source like ripples in a pond? As I've learned the effects of a field emanating from an oscillating charge would do so. For example, if you transformed a lot of energy into a massive object would the effects of it's attractiveness spontaneously manifest everywhere in the universe?...I realise that Newtons formula was corrected by Einstein, I'm not aware of how general relativity works exactly, but my question doesn't seem too silly to me at the moment. I realise that if a signal can be sent faster than the speed of light then there has been a mistake in my reasoning/mathematics, just curious as to what the mistake is. (If the attractive force were to manifest everywhere in the universe instantaneously, it would seem this happens faster than c?


1 Answer 1


The original amount of energy already has mass, from $E=mc^2$, so there wouldn't be a sudden change in the gravitational attraction towards the place where the energy was.

  • $\begingroup$ I thought energy is just the part of an object that is not the mass, it doesn't really have mass itself? $\endgroup$
    – Rob Hv
    Jul 29, 2021 at 9:18
  • $\begingroup$ It's surprising, but even kinetic energy has mass, you've probably heard that the mass of an object increases if it's travelling fast, (according to relativity theory) - and that's because of the mass of the kinetic energy that it has $\endgroup$ Jul 29, 2021 at 9:23
  • $\begingroup$ thanks for your help, say if a virtual particle spontaneously appears, does it have attractive gravitational force? if so does it spread like ripples in a pond? $\endgroup$
    – Rob Hv
    Jul 30, 2021 at 8:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Rob Hv That's a good question, perhaps worth asking as another, sorry not sure of the answer. you could look into 'zero point energy' and ask if it generates a gravitational field for space, all the best with it... $\endgroup$ Jul 30, 2021 at 10:34

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