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Q & A: Gravity and baseballs

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Most recent answer: 04/22/2013
Q:
a discussion came up the other night regarding gravity. if a baseball is dropped from shoulder height and another baseball is thrown from shoulder height on a straight line that both baseballs will hit the ground at the same time. it was stated that gravity on both baseballs will be the same and the rate of decent would be the same
- Jack (age 57)
boston, ma usa
A:
Yep, they both hit the ground at the same time.  There may be some subtle effects like top spin or under spin, just like the spin on a curve ball but that should be small.
The reason is that gravity works only on the vertical dimension.  It doesn't care what happens to the horizontal motion,  the two are independent.

LeeH

Maybe there's a little drag effect from the air. Drag force isn't linear in the relative velocity, so moving sideways increases the drag for the up-down direction too. I guess the thrown ball will take a little longer due to that effect. Mike W.

(published on 04/22/2013)

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