MadSci Network: Astronomy

Re: Two objects in space; pulled together by self gravity; where do they meet?

Date: Wed Nov 24 03:58:49 1999
Posted By: Demian Bertozzi, Grad student, Physics, UFSC
Area of science: Astronomy
ID: 941860098.As

Hello, Mr. Feathers

	The two bodies will meet in a point nearer the more massive body. 
It happens because the gravitational attraction is a Force, which means it 
produces an acceleration. The force is the same for both bodies, because 
of Newton's third law, action-reaction law, indeed. Newton's second law 
says that F = m*a , where 'F' is the force, 'm' the mass and 'a' is the 
acceleration. Well, for the same force, which is our situation, 
the 'lighter' [ie less massive] body will have a higher acceleration.
It means that this body will move a bigger distance towards the 'heavier'
one than the opposite. The calculus for determining exactly the meeting 
point is hard, so I won't include it here, because I don't know if you can
handle a non-linear second order differential equation! You can find a good
description of these phenomena in any good book, like, for example Mechanics
(Symon). But these books ask for a good background in calculus.

Hope this helps.

Any doubts to


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