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Newton's Law of Gravitation

  • Thread starter nlink1979
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nlink1979
According to Newton's Law of Gravitation, all objects with mass attract one another. This law implies that all of the atoms that make up a star, such as our sun, are gravitationally attracted to one another. How is a star able to resist collapsing under its own gravitational attraction?

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Nicole
 

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  • #2
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Originally posted by nlink1979 According to Newton's Law of Gravitation, all objects with mass attract one another. This law implies that all of the atoms that make up a star, such as our sun, are gravitationally attracted to one another. How is a star able to resist collapsing under its own gravitational attraction?
How is a table able to resist an apple falling through it if you put the apple on the table? There are interactions between matter other than gravitational forces.
 
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There are numerous interactions that counteract gravity, preventing such a collapse. In our sun, the process of nuclear fusion creates large amounts of heat and radiation; this radiation pressure keeps the star in equilibrium. In stars like white dwarfs, something called electron degeneracy pressure keeps the star from collapsing. This is a quantum effect that restricts the number of electrons we can squish into a certain volume, and acts to keep them apart. In neutron stars, a similar pressure arises from neutron degeneracy.
 

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