How can the Sun have such a strong gravitational field if it's made of gasses?
How can the sun have a strong gravitational pull if it's made up of gases and not a solid mass like the earth?
The gravitational field of an object is determined solely by:
1) how massive it is, and 2) how far away from it you are
Whether it's a gas or a liquid or a solid doesn't make any difference. The Sun is a lot more massive than the Earth, and so it has a stronger gravitational field. From our everyday experience, it might not be so obvious that a gas has mass, but it's true. The Sun exerts the same gravitational force on the planets as it would if it had the same mass but was made of rock.
Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:
- Podcast? Subscribe? Tell me about the Ask an Astronomer Podcast
- Subscribe to our Podcast | Listen to our current Episode
- Cool! But I can't now. Send me a quick reminder now for later.
How to ask a question:
If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist
This page has been accessed 21192 times since March 9, 2003.
Last modified: March 9, 2003 2:10:55 PM
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.
Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)