Friday, August 1, 2008

Fun with gravity

The earth is round because it's being pulled inwards towards the center by the force of gravity. It's also not round because it's being pulled by the moon and sun especially, but by all the other planets as well. Not only the ocean has tides, you know. The earth's atmosphere also has tides, currents, and inner rivers of moving energy and gas. On a day like today when there's a solar eclipse, the combined pull of the sun and moon pulls the atmosphere away from the earth. We're not talking about just an inch or two - the gravitational force of a sun/moon conjunction means the atmosphere will stretch hundreds of kilometers closer to the big lights in the sky. Meanwhile on the other side of the planet, the atmosphere is at low tide, pulled in close and tight to the surface. Isn't that cool? It has impact on the weather everywhere, as you can imagine. (...And people don't believe in astrology. Hmph.)

My study of natural law physics is plugging along. Too bad I don't speak the language of math - I could understand it so much more fully if I did. There are enough books out there written for the armchair physicist, though, that I'm getting the general idea. It's good to learn about gravity, a force that is pulling me down just a little farther each year towards my eventuality. My brain is very happy.

Thanks, Isaac Newton and all the rest of you whose names don't appear in science history books, for putting your minds to the task of describing natural law in very precise terms. I salute you all!

Ya'll know that the story of the apple falling on Isaac Newton's head is completely made up, right?


tut-tut said...

Lush and lovely; and I especially love the top photo, of seeming (?) stars in the sky . . . Interesting thoughts on physics, too.

Barbara said...

Everything about our physical world and being is infinitely more complicated than it would appear. The fact that all the pushes and pulls work together so well and that we stay (mostly) grounded and don't just fly off into space is evidence of a higher power to me. Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue if these forces just ceased for even 1 minute?

Anonymous said...

there are holes in the sky
where the rain comes in
but they're ever so small
thats why rain is thin

wish i'd written that, but glad that spike milligan did.

wish you were here

fabulous fabulous pictures reya


deborah said...

love, love, love

the bottom pic

love ya

Squirrel said...

the top photo looks like a Moody Blues album cover as painted by Edmund Dulac.

Janelle said...

great inspiration as that your shiny car???? like a mirror! whew! xx bisous x janelle

Ernest de Cugnac said...

the maths thing is a bugger isn't it? Same prob with me. If you can't do the maths, you can manage some sciences, but with physics, it's a real brake.

Reya Mellicker said...

And there are so many "dialects" of math languages. Such a shame.

Janelle I don't own a car! Live in a city with great public transportation and car sharing. I'm so lucky! No I brazenly take pics of other people's cars, something they do not always appreciate, believe me!

Anonymous said...

are you sure the apple story is made up? there are many writings, including writings by Newton's assistant and husband of his niece that indicate the apple tree was a source of his thinking about gravity. It may not have fallen on his head, but it did fall.

hele said...

after reading your post my brain, eyes and soul feels happy.

Janelle said...

oh! how delightfully funny that people don't like it! man. people have clean cars that side, eh? love the pics and hope the august blues are passing quickly enough for you! xx janelle

Lynne said...

Love these two photos! Yes, I think the first one looks like a starlit sky too. Very cool. And the leafy reflection ... fab!

PS I am not a math person at all. :(