If earth exerts gravitational force on the objects, then why don’t we all enter into the Earth and go to the center?

As the title suggests, we all experience the gravitational force. Earth is attracting every object, person and living being (and everything else attracts Earth).

By similar logic, every object in the universe attracts every other object. A simple definition of gravitation right?

For now, let’s come back to the earth. You may be sitting or standing right now. And you are experiencing the force of gravity even if you are not aware of it. Now that you are aware, you do feel the force, right? Everything else around you is either resting on the ground or table. You get the point.

If our earth is so massive, and the strength of the force of gravity is thus massive, why don’t you get pulled into the earth? Or why can you sit, or stand or walk on the earth in spite of the powerful gravity? Why don’t you fall into the earth? Or why don’t your atoms become one with the atoms of the earth?

Think about this first without reading further.

Have you thought about it?

Sure?

Good. The reason has to do with another force of nature called electromagnetic force. This force as you know is both attractive and repulsive depending on the positive or negative charges.

The electromagnetic force is mind-blowingly more powerful than gravity. In fact $10^{36}$ times! That number is so large that our human brains are unable to comprehend just how powerful electromagnetic force is compared to gravitational force.

Due to this difference in magnitude, the repulsion between atoms (or precisely electrons) is much stronger than the attraction between the atoms due to gravity. The gravity tries to bring everything together. But after a certain point, the atoms start to repel each other and do not just merge into one. This is the force of repulsion between atoms.

This is the reason why you do not fall into the earth or become one with it. The electrons of your body or whichever point of contact you have, repel the electrons of the earth. This is why your hands do not just pass through the table or chair. Or any object does not just pass through any other object You are never, in fact, touching or in contact with anything, ever! The atoms in you never touch the atoms in other object you touch. There is always a tiny tiny gap due to electrons’ repulsion. The touch that you feel is just a sensation that your brain gives you. It is also the reason why you are able to pick up a ball so easily off the ground despite the earth gravitationally attracting the ball. Electromagnetic force!

Awesome right?

Now what if the gravitational force is so powerful that it can overcome the electromagnetic force of repulsion? Can gravity every get that powerful? If yes, then what exactly happens?

Read about neutron stars and black holes. (Warning: Scary!)

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1 Response

  1. November 12, 2016

    […] each other. We can also run electric current and study its effects on an adjacent parallel wire. Or simply that we do not fall into the earth and can safely sit in our chair. This makes us aware of the electromagnetic […]

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