Taylor series expansion for gravitational force

by physics1311
Tags: gravitational force, kinetics
physics1311 is offline
Feb7-12, 06:56 PM
P: 8
1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
The magnitude of the gravitational force exerted by the Earth on an object of mass m at the Earth's surface is
Fg = G*M*m/ R^2
where M and R are the mass and radius of the Earth.
Let's say the object is instead a height y << R above the surface of the Earth. Using a Taylor series or binomial expansion, find a polynomial expression in y for the force of gravity acting on this object, correct to first order (i.e., in this case, the lowest "non-trivial" order of the Taylor series).

2. Relevant equations
taylor series equation

3. The attempt at a solution
I set up the equation as Fg=G*M*m/(R+y)^2 centered around y=0

I'm just lost on how to set this up, what is the right equation and point to center around?
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Spinnor is offline
Feb7-12, 08:35 PM
P: 1,360
(R+y)^-2 = R^-2(1 + y/R)^-2 Expand this about y = 0

Using as input "R^-2(1 + y/R)^-2"

In the following link, you may need a free plugin,


See series expansion in the above link.
physics1311 is offline
Feb7-12, 09:06 PM
P: 8
Thanks for the help

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