The apple of Newton’s eye and of course the focus of Einstein’s work, gravity is weaker than you probably think and weirder than you probably imagined. But gravity, which attracts objects together in proportion to their mass, is about much more than fallen fruit.
Most likely you did not know this about gravity:
- Several areas of Hudson Bay and the nearby regions of Quebec are “missing” gravity. This is one of the parts on earth with very low gravity
- On Saturn’s largest moon Titan, the atmosphere is so thick and the gravity is so much low that humans could easily fly through it by flapping “wings” attached to the arms.
- Liquid helium has almost zero viscosity and can drift through microscopic holes and up walls against gravity.
- The several zero-gravity scenes in the movie Apollo 13 are essentially genuine. The crew recorded 4 hours of material in 612 parabola flights.
- NASA cannot bring birds into space because birds need gravity to swallow.
- In zero gravity, a candle’s flame is round and blue.
- The tallest likely mountains on a neutron star can only be about 5mm tall because their immense gravity.
- When melting glass in space, zero gravity upsurges the viscosity and you can make glass with chemicals other than silica.
- Due to variations in local gravity, a pendulum clock precise at sea level will lose around 16 seconds per day if relocated to an altitude of 4000 feet.
- Did you know that there is an empty point in space where the gravity from the Planet Earth and the Sun is equal, and objects can orbit it as if there was something present there?
- The apple in Newton’s eye led to the first inverse square law in science, F = G * (mM)/r2. This means an object twice as far away exerts a quarter of the gravitational pull.
- Someone who weighs 150 pounds on Earth would — if it were possible to stand on Jupiter — weigh a whopping 354 pounds on the enormous gas giant. Larger masses have greater gravity.
- To leave Earth’s gravitational pull behind, an object must travel 7 miles a second, our planet’s escape velocity.
Now you know!