Gravitational Attraction at Equator

In summary, the gravitational attraction at the equator is slightly less than at other latitudes due to the centrifugal force caused by the Earth's rotation. This results in a slight decrease in weight of objects and a slight decrease in the Earth's rotational speed. The gravitational attraction at the equator is also affected by the Moon and other celestial bodies, and although it does not directly impact the Earth's climate, it does play a role in creating different climate patterns at different latitudes.
  • #1
Felin
1
0
The weight of a person at the equator, as determined by a spring balance, is 725N.

By how much does this differ from the true force of gravitational attraction at the same point? Assume that the Earth is spherically symmetric.

This question is on a section that we havn't even done yet so I am completely lost as to what to do to figure this one out.
 
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  • #2
There is an additonal force at the equator that isn't present at the poles. Once you realize what that is, you can calculate its magnitude.

Dorothy
 
  • #3


I would like to clarify that the weight measured by a spring balance is not the same as the force of gravitational attraction. Weight is a measure of the force of gravity acting on an object, but it also takes into account other factors such as the mass of the object and its location on Earth's surface. On the other hand, the force of gravitational attraction is solely determined by the mass of the Earth and the distance between an object and its center.

In this case, the weight of a person at the equator would be slightly less than the true force of gravitational attraction at the same point. This is because the Earth is not a perfect sphere, it bulges slightly at the equator due to its rotation. This bulging results in a slightly longer distance between the center of the Earth and an object at the equator, causing a slightly weaker force of gravitational attraction compared to an object at the poles.

To calculate the difference between the weight measured by the spring balance and the true force of gravitational attraction at the equator, we would need to know the mass of the Earth and the exact location of the person on the equator. However, assuming that the Earth is spherically symmetric, we can estimate the difference to be around 0.5%. This means that the true force of gravitational attraction at the equator would be approximately 722N, while the weight measured by the spring balance is 725N.

It's important to note that this difference is very small and would not have a significant impact on everyday activities. However, it highlights the importance of understanding the difference between weight and gravitational attraction in scientific measurements.
 

Related to Gravitational Attraction at Equator

1. How does gravitational attraction differ at the equator compared to other latitudes?

The gravitational attraction at the equator is slightly less than at other latitudes due to the centrifugal force caused by the Earth's rotation. This causes the Earth's shape to bulge at the equator, making the distance to the center of the Earth slightly longer than at other latitudes.

2. Does gravitational attraction at the equator affect the weight of objects?

Yes, the slight decrease in gravitational attraction at the equator means that objects will weigh slightly less compared to other latitudes. However, this difference is so small that it is not noticeable in everyday life.

3. How does the gravitational attraction at the equator impact the Earth's rotation?

The centrifugal force caused by the Earth's rotation at the equator counteracts the pull of gravity, which results in a slight decrease in the Earth's rotational speed. This effect is also responsible for the bulging shape of the Earth at the equator.

4. Is the gravitational attraction at the equator affected by the Moon or other celestial bodies?

Yes, the gravitational attraction at the equator is affected by the Moon and other celestial bodies. The Moon's gravitational pull creates tides, which can slightly alter the Earth's shape and affect the gravitational attraction at the equator.

5. Does the gravitational attraction at the equator impact the Earth's climate?

The gravitational attraction at the equator does not directly impact the Earth's climate. However, the slight decrease in gravitational pull, along with other factors such as the Earth's tilt and rotation, does play a role in creating different climate patterns at different latitudes.

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