1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

I Question on convention - R vs r using universal law of grav.

  1. Dec 10, 2016 #1
    I have a question on convention regarding the universal law of gravitation formula. Sometimes the distance is represented with the lowercase r and sometimes with the uppercase R. Why is it listed two different ways? I am thinking that r is the total distance and R is the radial distance, no? For example, the distance to a satellite might be r = R + h, where r is total distance, R is the radius of the planet and h is the distance from the surface of the planet to the satellite. I am wondering what the convention is.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 10, 2016 #2
    Yes, I've most often seen them used the way you suggest: r for the generic distance, R for the radius of the earth or a specific object.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted