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Q & A: Sudden loss of gravity

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Most recent answer: 05/12/2014
Q:
Idle bit of curiousity has me stuck, as I know that this is Calculus and it has been over 20 years since I have done any. If an object on Earth was suddenly rendered 'immune' to the effects of gravity, what speed would it seem to travel away from the Earth due to the effects of the difference between the object's angular velocity and its difference due to the orbital velocity of the planet? In this, it is assumed to be midnight, and thus the object should travel directly away from the planet.
- David Foster (age 40)
Tallahassee, FL, USA
A:

Hello David,

It would fly off with the same velocity as it had the moment before.  

You can get the same effect if you tie a rock to the end of a string and start swinging it around.  If the string broke the rock would fly off in the same manner. That direction is tangential, not directly away from the center.

LeeH


(published on 05/12/2014)

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