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ZingPath: Space Science

Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation

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Lesson Focus

Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation

Earth & Space Science

Learning Made Easy

You will get to learn the basic principles of space science. Explore Newton’s third law by setting your own celestial objects in motion while trying to avoid fiery collisions, not to mention also rescuing an astronaut on a space mission!

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Define gravitational force.
  • Relate the position of the moon to the ocean tides.
  • Relate the motion of the planets in the solar system to gravitational forces.

Everything You'll Have Covered

How did Sir Isaac Newton arrive at his theory of universal gravitation?

~ According to legend, Newton arrived at his theory of universal gravitation when he was struck on the head with an apple while sitting under an apple tree. From this event, and based on his previous work, Newton hypothesized that the apple was accelerated by a force of attraction between itself and Earth. Eventually, this force came to be known as gravitational force.

What is gravitational force?

~ Gravitational force is the force of attraction between objects.

How does gravitational force keep the solar system intact?

~ The attractive gravitational forces between the planets and the sun keep the planets in orbit around the sun and prevent them from drifting off into space.

How is gravitational force related to the moon and the tides?

~ The moon's gravitational force has a direct effect on the tides of Earth's oceans. When the moon moves closer to the Earth, the tides rise. When the moon moves away, the tides fall again.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 2 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Students should be familiar with acceleration, apple, and Earth.
Course Earth & Space Science
Type of Tutorial Animation
Key Vocabulary acceleration, apple, earth