Answer the following:
(a) You can shield a charge from electrical forces by putting it inside a hollow conductor. Can you shield a body from the gravitational influence of nearby matter by putting it inside a hollow sphere or by some other means?
(b) An astronaut inside a small space ship orbiting around the earth cannot detect gravity. If the space station orbiting around the earth has a large size, can he hope to detect gravity?
(c) If you compare the gravitational force on the earth due to the sun to that due to the moon, you would find that the Sun’s pull is greater than the moon’s pull. (You can check this yourself using the data available in the succeeding exercises). However, the tidal effect of the moon’s pull is greater than the tidal effect of sun. Why?
(a) No (b) Yes
(a) Gravitational influence of matter on nearby objects cannot be screened by any means. This is because gravitational force unlike electrical forces is independent of the nature of the material medium. Also, it is independent of the status of other objects.
(b) If the size of the space station is large enough, then the astronaut will detect the change in Earth’s gravity (g).
(c) Tidal effect depends inversely upon the cube of the distance while, gravitational force depends inversely on the square of the distance. Since the distance between the Moon and the Earth is smaller than the distance between the Sun and the Earth, the tidal effect of the Moon’s pull is greater than the tidal effect of the Sun’s pull.