Gravitational potential for various matter configurations

  • #1

Homework Statement



Consider the Earth as

1. with a constant density of matter,
2. as a thin shell empty sphere and
3. with a constant linear density of matter ##\rho(r) = \rho_{0}r##.

In all cases, calculate the gravitational potential and the gravitational field everywhere and make a sketch.

Homework Equations



The Attempt at a Solution



1. The gravitational potential outside the Earth is equal to the gravitational potential of a point particle of the mass of the Earth, that is,

$$V = - \frac{GM}{r}.$$

Therefore, the gravitational field is simply

$$g = - \nabla V = - \frac{GM}{r^{2}}.$$

To compute the gravitational potential within the Earth, do I have to slice up the Earth into thin shells of radius ##dr## and integrate over shells which contribute to the potential?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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To compute the gravitational potential within the Earth, do I have to slice up the Earth into thin shells of radius ##dr## and integrate over shells which contribute to the potential?
Right.
 

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