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Weight of planets

  1. Oct 13, 2003 #1
    [SOLVED] Weight of planets

    Does the weight of planets depend upon the speed of the planet and gravity ?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 14, 2003 #2

    LURCH

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    Just to make it clear, are you asking what causes a planet to have its weight, what causes things on the planet to have weight, or how we measure the weight of a planet?
     
  4. Oct 14, 2003 #3

    marcus

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    hello Lurch and chetan, this is a thought-provoking question.
    let's assume that chetan is asking if the MASS of a planet depends on the speed the planet is travelling

    there are gravitational interactions that abruptly boost the speed of planets----the "slingshot" interaction with Jupiter for example can suddenly increase the speed of a small planet or asteroid to the extent that it leaves the solar system! We are lucky to have Jupiter where it is because it has "cleaned out" the inner solar system of many comet nuclei and stuff that could hit us, exactly by this "slingshot" effect.

    So, imagine you are on a planet that suddenly gains a lot of speed. Does gravity get stronger? Interesting. thanks chetan for the idea
     
  5. Oct 14, 2003 #4

    Labguy

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    Re: Re: Weight of planets

    A change in the "speed" of a planet, defined as one in orbit, would only cause it to spiral inward if V is lost, or move outward from the parent body if V is gained. Too much +V could change the orbit, or sling it completely away from an orbit.

    The planet's "weight" (mass/density) would not change, but it's potential energy would change in direct proportion to the change in V2. But, if the V approaches what would be called "relativistic velocity", it is a whole new ball game. The only objects I know of at relativistic V's are Neutron stars orbiting each other or orbiting a BH, there may be others (astronomical "bodies"), not meaning particles.

    EDIT:
    But, Marcus (getting real), you already know that and more.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2003
  6. Oct 14, 2003 #5

    Phobos

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  7. Oct 15, 2003 #6
    Re: Re: Weight of planets


    How we measure the weight of a planet?
     
  8. Oct 15, 2003 #7

    Phobos

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    Click on the link I provided above.
     
  9. Oct 15, 2003 #8

    russ_watters

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    Re: Re: Re: Weight of planets

    Maybe we need to get more basic. Weight and mass are not the same thing. Mass is defined as "A property of matter equal to the measure of an object's resistance to changes in either the speed or direction of its motion." Its essentially the quantity of matter in an object. (holding off on realtivity for the time being)

    Weight is the gravitational force between two objects. Ie, I weigh 145 pound when placed on the earth and the earth weighs 145 pounds when placed on my feet. On the moon, I weigh about 22 pounds.

    So you see, the "weight" of a planet is a concept without really any meaning. Physicists and astronomers only really concern themselves with the MASS of a planet.

    So the answer to your question if you mean "how do we measure the mass of a plant?" is that you measure it from watching things orbit it.

    Just an aside, I think some of those with more specific knowledge of physics (ie, knowing more than me) tend to look for a complicated answer in situations where it isn't warranted. This appears to me to be a basic question not needing any of the high end complexities that can be applied.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2003
  10. Oct 15, 2003 #9

    Labguy

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    Re: Re: Re: Re: Weight of planets

    Very good point we should all keep in mind.
     
  11. Oct 17, 2003 #10
    just so no ones confused, mv^2/r=GmM/r^2.....g is gravity but i thought there was no gravity in space?
     
  12. Oct 17, 2003 #11

    Labguy

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    Sure there is. Its everywhere, even "deep-space" between galaxies, but there it would be very weak and would be "tugging" you from very many directions, seemingly randon.

    Labguy
     
  13. Oct 17, 2003 #12

    russ_watters

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    In the classical sense, space itself doesn't have "gravity" - gravity is a force between two bodies with mass (as the equation says). So that means ANY two bodies with mass ANYWHERE have a calculable gravitational attraction between them.

    You are probably thinking about astronauts in orbit. In orbit, they still have a gravitational attraction to earth and its only slightly lower than on the surface (a couple of percent). They just don't feel it because they are in freefall.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2003
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