Gravitational Constant Is the "G" in Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation - FactzPedia

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Gravitational Constant Is the "G" in Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation

Gravitational Constant Is the "G" in Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation


Gravity was also the key player in Sir Isaac Newton's famous "apple" story You know the one we're talking about.

One day, Newton was hanging out in Lincolnshire, England when he watched an apple fall out of a tree. (Or so he claimed.)

Over the coming years, he'd tell many acquaintances — like Voltaire and biographer William Stukeley — that his great writings about the nature of gravity were inspired by this mundane little event. Newton's assistant John Conduitt, wrote:

[It] came into his thought that the same power of gravity (which made an apple fall from the tree to the ground) was not limited to a certain distance from the Earth but must extend much farther than was usually thought — Why not as high as the moon, said he to himself & if so that must influence her motion & perhaps retain her in her orbit.

Thus, the groundwork was laid for Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation. Central to which is a phenomenon called the gravitational constant, aka: "Big G" or just "G."


Here's the relevant equation:

F = (G x m1 x m2) / r2
The "F" stands for the "force of gravity"; "m1" means the mass of the first object; "m2" denotes the mass of the second object; and "r2" is shorthand for the distance squared between the centers of mass within object one and object two.

And the "G"? Well friends, that's the Big G: The gravitational constant.


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