# Gravitational Attraction of a Massive Particle

• GuyWQuestion
In summary, the conversation discusses the equations governing the gravitational attraction of a massive particle traveling at near light speed. It is mentioned that a college level understanding of algebra and calculus is insufficient for understanding these equations, and the suggestion is made to refer to Prof. Susskind's lecture series on General Relativity. It is also noted that measuring a "gravitational field" is not the same as measuring an electric field, and the concept of a moving particle affecting other objects is discussed. The technical details of this concept are known as the Aichelburg - Sexyl solution, which behaves similarly to an electromagnetic plane wave.
GuyWQuestion
I was wondering what equations govern calculating the gravitation attraction of a massive particle (say a proton) traveling at near light speed? Thanks!

What is your current level of understanding of physics and mathematics?

Lets go with college level Algebra, but I've taken college level Calculus, just don't remember most of it.

Okay. Just to be precise, we don't know how the gravitational field looks around single particles because we don't have a working quantum theory of gravity yet. We can say quite a bit about more massive objects though.

Unfortunately, college undergraduate level algebra and calculus is insufficient in order to understand the equations of GR, the matematical framework for which is differential geometry and tensor calculus. As such, giving you the equations immediately would be meaningless. I suggest you take a look at Prof. Susskind's video lecture series on GR, which is available fo free on youtube;

Here is the link to the Special Relativity lecture series:
General relativity lecture series:

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Because all objects are affected by gravity, we can't actually measure a "gravitational field" in the same sense that we can measure , say, an electric field. In some specialized circumstances we can work around this lack of a reference particle that would be "unaffected by gravity", but the case of a moving mass isn't one of those special circumstances.

What we could measure, in principle, is the tidal gravitational field of a moving particle - the accelerations induced in nearby test particles relative to each other. Unfortunately, the detailed presentation on it gets rather technical. It's known as the Aichelburg - Sexyl solution, and in general terms, it looks like a plane wave, similar to the electromagnetic case, which behaves in a similar manner.

## 1. What is gravitational attraction?

Gravitational attraction is the force of attraction between two objects due to their masses. It is one of the four fundamental forces of nature and is responsible for keeping planets in orbit around the sun and objects on Earth from floating away into space.

## 2. How does the mass of an object affect gravitational attraction?

The greater the mass of an object, the stronger its gravitational pull. This means that a more massive object will have a greater force of attraction than a less massive one.

## 3. What is the equation for gravitational attraction?

The equation for gravitational attraction is F = G (m1m2/r^2), where F is the force of attraction, G is the gravitational constant, m1 and m2 are the masses of the two objects, and r is the distance between them.

## 4. How does distance affect gravitational attraction?

The force of gravitational attraction decreases as the distance between two objects increases. This means that the farther apart two objects are, the weaker their gravitational pull on each other will be.

## 5. Can gravitational attraction be canceled out?

No, gravitational attraction cannot be canceled out. It is a fundamental force of nature and will always exist between objects with mass. However, other forces such as inertia and centrifugal force can counteract the effects of gravitational attraction.

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