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Weigh heavier at the equator or at the north pole?

  1. Feb 7, 2007 #1
    One quick question about forces i have. Would an appear appear to weigh heavier at the equator or at the north pole? I assume both places would have have the same weight. A little feedback would be appreciated
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 7, 2007 #2


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    There is a distinction here to be made regard actual weight and apparent weight. Your actual weight is simply the force of gravity exerted on your mass. Your apparent weight is the magnitude of the normal reaction force exerted by the ground on you; this is the weight that a set of bathroom scales measures. To answer your question you need to consider the following points;

    • What is the radius of the earth at the poles compared to the radius at the equator?
    • I assume that you have studied basic mechanics and hence uniform circular motion. If this is the case consider your angular frequency as the earth rotates when you are stood at the poles compared to when you are stood at the equator. How will the centripetal force differ in each situation?
    • Draw a free body diagram in each case to analyse the forces.
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