Potential surprises in Newtonian Gravity

  • Thanu Padmanabhan
Part of the Lecture Notes in Physics book series (LNP, volume 895)


Consider a planet which has a weird shape, resembling, say, that of a diseased potato. Is it possible that the gravitational force exerted by this planet—which is distinctly non-spherical in shape—falls exactly as r -2 everywhere outside of it? The initial reaction of many physicists will be: “No, of course, not; you need a spherically symmetric distribution of mass to produce a 1/r 2 force outside it”. Surprisingly, this is not true.


Gravitational Force Gravitational Potential Point Charge Compact Region Newtonian Gravity 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thanu Padmanabhan
    • 1
  1. 1.Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and AstrophysicsPuneIndia

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