Gravitational Law and Planetary Motion

  • Richard K. Cooper
  • Claudio Pellegrini


By 1666 Newton and other physicists had found that the force that a particle of mass M produces on another particle of mass m is
$$F = - G\frac{{mM}}{{{r^2}}}\hat r$$
where r is the distance between the two masses, and \(\hat r\) is the unit vector pointing from M to m. The force is attractive. The gravitational constant G is
$$G = (3.3726\pm 0.0005) \times {10^{ - 11}}N{m^2}/k{g^2}$$


Angular Momentum Impact Parameter Gravitational Potential Circular Orbit Semimajor Axis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard K. Cooper
    • 1
  • Claudio Pellegrini
    • 2
  1. 1.Formerly of Los Alamos National LaboratoryLos AlamosUSA
  2. 2.University of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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