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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.
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