Think “gravity” and the first image that pops up in our mind is the image of the ‘falling apple’ and ‘Isaac Newton’. If Newton had ignored the falling apple; probably, we would not have made so much progress in science and technology. Our knowledge about the Universe would have been as hazy as the Sky itself! Well, thank Newton for gravity! I mean, our comprehensive understanding of it! Because gravity is what keeps us grounded, literally; else, we would all be floating in some void.
This gravity that we take so much for granted, came to man’s attention only about 300 years ago! Until then, man believed that planets and stars belonged to a God’s realm and followed a “natural movement”!
The trigger for finding gravity started with Kepler’s discovery that the earth’s orbit was elliptical and not spherical! The search to answer this question was what, eventually, lead to the understanding of gravity.
Besides leading to developments in various fields, the discovery of gravity also led to the discovery of other planets and stars in our solar system. J C Adams and U J J Le Verrier, two astronomers, predicted the existence of Neptune based on the theory of gravity. Because that was the only way they could explain Uranus’ deviations in its orbit.
Although gravity holds together our entire Universe, did you know that it is considered as the weakest force of nature, among the four forces known to man?! Astounding as that sounds; this is a fact! However, gravity is also the most dominant force. And that explains how our Universe and Solar System stays intact.
Good news for those worried about their weight! The force of gravity differs in different planets and celestial objects. In simpler words; if you weigh 100 pounds on earth, you would weigh only 17 pounds on the moon! No wonder looking at the moon makes you feel so “light”-hearted!
But if you are seriously considering weight loss; then, Pluto is the best bet! Although it is no longer officially known as a planet and is now referred to as the “dwarf planet”; a 150 pound person would weight just around 10 pounds here! How cool is that! Nevertheless, it would take more time to enjoy this benefit as man is yet to find the possibility of life here.
Man is yet to discover an anti-gravity device. But, don’t lose heart! The effect of gravity can be nullified by a free-fall or by placing objects in our orbit. That would have to be quite an enormous object, though!
Although we might not feel it; gravity is not even everywhere! (Now don’t use that as a “scientific” excuse for your clumsiness!) This is because our Earth is not a perfect sphere, which means uneven distribution of mass. One such gravitational incongruity has been discovered in the Hudson Bay of Canada.
Gravity not only keeps you grounded but also helps to keep some bacteria to remain so. Some studies conducted in 2007 came to the conclusion that bacteria like salmonella become more virulent in space; thanks to lesser gravity. If you are wondering what this beautiful sounding bacteria does? It is the predominant cause of food poisoning!
Now if you are beginning to think that gravity is all good – think again! Ever heard of black holes? Those “nothing” something lying quietly in our Universe; nothing escapes it, thanks to its extremely high gravitational force. These are considered one of the most destructive objects in space.
Despite all that Newton taught us; Einstein seemed to have another perception of gravity. He believed that gravity was the result of warping of space and time.