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ERIC Number: EJ819001
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep
Pages: 17
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 11
ISSN: ISSN-0143-0807
From Moon-Fall to Motions under Inverse Square Laws
Foong, S. K.
European Journal of Physics, v29 n5 p987-1003 Sep 2008
The motion of two bodies, along a straight line, under the inverse square law of gravity is considered in detail, progressing from simpler cases to more complex ones: (1) one body fixed and one free; (2) both bodies free and identical mass; (3) both bodies free and different masses; and (4) the inclusion of electrostatic forces for both bodies' free and different masses. The equations of motion (EOM) are derived starting from Newton's second law or from conservation of energy. They are then reduced to dimensionless EOM using appropriate scales for time and distance. Solutions of the dimensionless EOM as well as the original EOM are given. The time interval for the bodies to fall is expressed as a function of the distance fallen. Formulae for the inverse were obtained. The author also discusses this motion along the straight line as a special case of the general elliptic motion of two bodies. It is hoped that this paper will be useful to university tutors as well as undergraduate and even graduate students who prefer to consider the special case before the general case, and their relationship. (Contains 8 figures, 1 table, and 1 footnote.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Students; Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A