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Facts about Gravity For Kids

Gravity or gravitation is a natural phenomenon by which all things with mass are brought towards (or ‘gravitate’ towards) one another including stars, planets, galaxies and even light and sub-atomic particles. Gravity is responsible for the complexity in the universe, by creating spheres of hydrogen, igniting them under pressure to form stars and grouping them into galaxies. Without gravity, the universe would be an uncomplicated one, existing without thermal energy and composed only of equally spaced particles.

  • On Earth, gravity gives weight to physical objects and causes the tides.
  • Gravity is most accurately described by the general theory of relativity (proposed by Albert Einstein in 1915) which describes gravity, not as a force, but as a consequence of the curvature of spacetime caused by the uneven distribution of mass/energy; and resulting in time dilation, where time lapses more slowly in strong gravitation.
  • This is considered to occur over an infinite range, such that all bodies (with mass) in the universe are drawn to each other no matter how far they are apart.
  • As a consequence, gravity has a negligible influence on the behavior of sub-atomic particles, and plays no role in determining the internal properties of everyday matter (but see quantum gravity).
  • On the other hand, gravity is the dominant force at the macroscopic scale, that is the cause of the formation, shape, and trajectory (orbit) of astronomical bodies, including those of asteroids, comets, planets, stars, and galaxies.
  • The equivalence principle, explored by a succession of researchers including Galileo, Loránd Eötvös, and Einstein, expresses the idea that all objects fall in the same way.
  • Einstein discovered the field equations of general relativity, which relate the presence of matter and the curvature of spacetime and are named after him.
  • Notable solutions of the Einstein field equations include: The Schwarzschild solution, which describes spacetime surrounding a spherically symmetric non-rotating uncharged massive object.
  • For charges with a geometrized length which are less than the geometrized length of the mass of the object, this solution produces black holes with two event horizons.
  • Every planetary body (including the Earth) is surrounded by its own gravitational field, which can be conceptualized with Newtonian physics as exerting an attractive force on all objects.
  • In general relativity, gravitational radiation is generated in situations where the curvature of spacetime is oscillating, such as is the case with co-orbiting objects.