The gravitational binding energy of the Milky Way?

Does this even make sense? Just how immense would that be?
 

mathman

Science Advisor
7,614
369
What do you mean by "gravitational binding energy"?
 
That concept doesn't make sense in the case of a galaxy? It's the amount of energy needed to liberate all the particles of a body beyond the ability of gravity to pull them back together.

Basically, how much energy would it take to "blow it up" or pick it apart piece by piece.
 

mgb_phys

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
7,744
11
Gravitational binding energy of a galaxy is simply the energy needed to move each particle (star) in it to infinity - is equivalent of escape velocity.

For each small element of radius simply find the mass inside that radius, then the gravitional potential energy of a star at that radius is just = G m_star m_galaxy /R
You have to then recalculate the remaining mass of the galaxy at each step
 

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving
Top