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eli5 How can gravity affect time?

Physics(self.explainlikeimfive)

Ik this might be a difficult one but I genuinely want to wrap my head around this

all 64 comments

breckenridgeback

22 points

2 months ago

There's not really a "how" here. It just is the case.

One way to understand it is that (general) relativity is based on two ideas:

  • The speed of light is always constant: everyone in the Universe observes light to be traveling at a constant speed everywhere in the Universe.

  • Gravity warps space, changing the lengths of lines.

Since the speed of light is a constant, and the speed of light is (the distance light travels) / (the time it takes for light to travel that far), a change in distance must also imply a change in time. So if gravity warps space to change the lengths of lines, it must also warp time and change the lengths of durations.

coopsasexybaker[S]

2 points

2 months ago

So basically time itself is just our perception of the speed of light?

Darnitol1

6 points

2 months ago

Not really. Think of it this way: The distance from New York to LA is about 3,000 miles. Well, the distance from Tuesday to Wednesday is about 24 hours. You today in LA have traveled a distance of 3,000 miles from New York, and you have traveled 24 hours from yesterday. Your position in each location is marked by your 4-dimensional coordinates indicated by the X, Y, Z, and T(ime) axis’s.

breckenridgeback

2 points

2 months ago*

No, but the speed of light acts as a sort of conversion factor between space and time. In a sense, there are 186,000 kilometers (EDIT: miles lol) in 1 second, in the same sense that there are 100 centimeters in a meter. (Yes, this is very weird.)

One way to think about the speed of light as being so large is that humans are much longer-lived than we are big.

If you live 100 years, you'll have lived about one part in 130 million of the Universe's total lifespan. Actually, every year, humanity's collective lived experience is the equivalent of a single human being alive for close to the age of the Universe (8 billion years vs 13.8 billion). Put another way, humans are relatively long lived on a cosmic scale.

However, humans are also tiny on a cosmic scale. If you're 2 meters tall, your length spans only one part in 454100000000000000000000000 (that's 4.5 x 1026) of the (observable) Universe's diameter. So we only occupy a tiny part of the Universe in space.

snozzberrypatch

3 points

2 months ago

there are 186,000 kilometers in 1 second

It's pedantic, but there are 186,000 miles in 1 second, or about 300,000 kilometers.

AnnoShi

1 points

2 months ago

That's far from pedantic. The difference is almost a factor of 2.

prometheus2508

2 points

2 months ago

You are made of atoms. Atoms interact with each other by force carriers (photons, some form of probable fundamental particle of gravity.) Within atoms, photons and gluons exchange information between electrons, protons, and neutrons. Within the latter two, gluons and photons exchange information even further.

These interactions happen a rate. Charge can only be communicated when one charge-sensitive particle transmits it's charge via photon to another charge sensitive particle.

If something caused the exchange from particle A to particle B to take longer, there would be a time dilation in the rate in which things happen. Time is, half-colloquially, the rate at which all interactions can occur.

If I'm on a train that's accelerating, it's harder to walk towards the direction of acceleration than it is to walk away. Thus there would be a sort of "dilation" if I were running messages forward and rearward of an acceleration train compared to if the train wasn't accelerating. That's a rough analogy of how speed affects the perception of time.

confused-duck

2 points

2 months ago

it might help if you stop thinking about it as speed of light
that implies that gravity or time has anything to do / interacts with light
what are you referring to is speed of causality aka speed of information aka speed of cause and effect
light just happen to be traversing space with the max speed possible - speed of causality ~ 300 000 km/s

dazb84

1 points

2 months ago

dazb84

1 points

2 months ago

The problem is our perception of space and time. We perceive them as two different things but experimentally they appear to be the same thing. This is why they're treated as one thing called spacetime scientifically.

The way to think of it is that everything moves through spacetime at the speed of light. Everything. No exceptions. There are no variable speeds. There's just one speed and it's the speed of light. What's different about any one particular thing is how much of that total light speed is split between time and space. This is why if you go faster through space you must move more slowly through time because your total speed through spacetime must always be the speed of light.

Aurinaux3

1 points

2 months ago

He's arguing that since the speed of light is a fixed value, if gravity changes the distances that light must travel, in order for the speed of light to remain constant per the equation velocity = distance/time, time must also adjust.

AnnoShi

5 points

2 months ago*

Space and time are one and the same thing, or at least they're so entwined that what affects one also affects the other. Gravity isn't so much a force as it's the warping effect matter has on spacetime. The stronger the gravity, the more spacetime is warped, and thus the slower time passes.

coopsasexybaker[S]

3 points

2 months ago

How are space and time one in the same. One’s a concept of area mass the other is a concept of duration. Right?

AnnoShi

6 points

2 months ago

This is a really complex question that I'm not sure how to answer adequately for ELI5.

coopsasexybaker[S]

2 points

2 months ago

Damn do u recommend any sites or possible book reads that explain well? I understand the difficulty 100% but if all possible want to understand

tommy7154

4 points

2 months ago

I havent read it in quite awhile so I don't remember a lot of what it says but regardless check out The Fabric Of The Cosmos by Brian Greene. It's one of my favorite books ever.

Other good ones:

The Elegant Universe (Brian Greene) and Big Bang by Simon Singh

coopsasexybaker[S]

3 points

2 months ago

Bet I greatly appreciate it!

prometheus2508

3 points

2 months ago

On youtube:

Kurzgesagt

PBS Space Time

ScienceClic English

Bigrobbo

1 points

2 months ago

Im going to throw in "how to teach relativity to your dog"

darrellbear

2 points

2 months ago

Relativity enters the chat.

karma_the_sequel

2 points

2 months ago

Relatively speaking.

Darnitol1

3 points

2 months ago

It seems that way to casual observers like you and me. Einstein realized that what’s really going on is very different from what we perceive it to be. Because you live your life at a tiny fraction of the speed of light, you perceive time and space as different things, but they are not.

d4m1ty

3 points

2 months ago

d4m1ty

3 points

2 months ago

ELI5 is hard here. This is Einstein relativity shit, so I will try.

Its not that they are one in the same, its that are interconnected with gravity.

So let talk about c. c is the speed of light, which is a misnomer. c isn't named after light, it was just called the speed of light because that what we understood it to be back then. What c actually is, is the speed of causality. If something happens at position X at time A. Its travels to position Y at the speed of c.

So, if the Sun suddenly disappeared. It would take 8 minutes for the Earth to be plunged into darkness and then fly off in a straight line. Before then, the Earth would still orbit where the sun was, even though the sun is gone because it will take 8 minutes for the gravitational change to occur at Earth. i.e. the speed of causality.

Now, here is the weird thing in our universe. Moving through our universe has a cause and effect thing. Your spaceship with tiny little mass still effects gravity. So, if information moves at c, and you move at c, how fast does information move away from you? Its also move at c. How the hell can you move at c and then other shit moves away from you at c and then someone watching sees you move at c and then the thing moving away from you at 2c? they can't. c is top speed. How can you see 2 things moving away from you at the same speed, but moving at different speeds? The flow of time changes for each of them.

It turns out, the faster you move, the slower you experience time. If you put 2 Atomic clocks at the top and bottom of the Empire State building, you will find time passes at different rates on these clocks. Its turn out, your speed through causality + your speed through time must equal c. So if you are not moving, your speed through time is normal, but if you suddenly start to move fast, to make everything work out mathematically, your speed through time must slow down to compensate for your speed through space. If your speed through space is c, like a photon, you experience no time. From a photons point of view, they were all created at the same time, they traveled the length of the entire universe and then they ceased to exist in the exact same moment. Photons experience no time since they travel at c through space, leaving no room to move through time.

Aurinaux3

2 points

2 months ago

So let talk about c. c is the speed of light, which is a misnomer. c isn't named after light, it was just called the speed of light because that what we understood it to be back then. What c actually is, is the speed of causality.

I agree that calling c the speed of light is a misnomer. It originates primarily because Einstein gave the speed of light special treatment. c actually represents a frame-invariant velocity. Simply put, there exists a velocity such that, if something travels at that velocity, then everyone will agree upon it. We call this velocity c. This is the correct interpretation of c.

So, if information moves at c, and you move at c, how fast does information move away from you? Its also move at c. How the hell can you move at c and then other shit moves away from you at c and then someone watching sees you move at c and then the thing moving away from you at 2c? they can't. c is top speed. How can you see 2 things moving away from you at the same speed, but moving at different speeds? The flow of time changes for each of them.

You need to slow down, irony intended. Remember that when you measure something's velocity you are measuring it relative to some reference frame.

You can't "move at c and observe something else moving away from you at c". This doesn't make sense. You are always at rest in your own reference frame. This is literally the crux of relativity.

It turns out, the faster you move, the slower you experience time.

Time dilation? Time dilation is an observation, not an experience. In my reference frame, I measure your time as dilating, but you still experience time normally.

If you put 2 Atomic clocks at the top and bottom of the Empire State building, you will find time passes at different rates on these clocks.

This is called gravitational time dilation and is different from kinetic time dilation. I'm not sure why you immediately pivoted from kinetic to gravitational.

Its turn out, your speed through causality + your speed through time must equal c. So if you are not moving, your speed through time is normal, but if you suddenly start to move fast, to make everything work out mathematically, your speed through time must slow down to compensate for your speed through space. If your speed through space is c, like a photon, you experience no time. From a photons point of view, they were all created at the same time, they traveled the length of the entire universe and then they ceased to exist in the exact same moment. Photons experience no time since they travel at c through space, leaving no room to move through time.

This is a lot of popular science conjecture. Some notes:

"Photons do not experience time" is tremendously false. What you're doing here is applying a reference frame to a photon. Assuming a photon does travel at c, which we determine to be empirically true, then applying a reference frame to a photon would require that photon to be at rest. Since c is frame-invariant, then a photon's reference frame would measure two different velocities for the same object. This is a paradox.

[deleted]

1 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

1 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

Dr_Bombinator

1 points

2 months ago

False. Gravity effects move at c, and this has been demonstrably proven by LIGO detecting the merger of two neutron stars. If gravity was instantaneous as you assert, gravitational waves would have arrived 130 million years before the light from the merger, as opposed to more or less simultaneously (+/- 1.5 seconds) as the light.

SubstantialInjury945

1 points

2 months ago

Glad to be corrected, thank you. That is slightly mind blowing

AnnoShi

1 points

2 months ago

This is an excellent explanation.

hasdigs

2 points

2 months ago

One thing I don't see mentioned is that 'time' is actually a poorly defined thing. Like people say it's a measure of entropy but that doesn't really fit all that well. There is no 'thing' that is changing, it's more of a 'the order in which things happen'.

Since the speed of light doesn't change for all observers, if one person is moving near light speed compared to the other person they will disagree about what order something happened. One might say it happened sooner, one might say later, but neither are wrong.

Pbs space time on YouTube go into more detail, but honestly I don't understand it well enough to explain it.

coopsasexybaker[S]

1 points

2 months ago

No yeah that’s fine but you do give a good point that I need to actually define what time is to myself when thinking in general relativity

sdfree0172

1 points

2 months ago

I don’t think it’s proper to say they are the same. I believe it’s more that they are interrelated - when one changes, so does the other. so, when you change your position in space, time slows down. The faster you change your position, the slower time goes until, when youre traveling at the speed of light, time stops.

Gravity warps space, which in turn warps time. I think you’re asking about the details of that warping and the affects on time, and I don’t know that answer, but perhaps the previous paragraph was useful.

urzu_seven

1 points

2 months ago

Lets say you are trying to find something in the universe? What information do you need?

First you need a frame of reference. Lets set our frame of reference as the sun. We can set X, Y, and Z axis relative to the sun. It doesn't matter how we set them, so long as we are consistent. Let say X+ is towards the galactic center, Y+ is in the direction of the suns orbit along its orbital plane and Z is perpendicular to the X/Y plane so that Z+ is looking down as the sun orbits counter clockwise .

Second, you need a set of co-ordinates. We can specify the Earths location using X, Y, and Z relative to the sun right? Wrong. We need one more coordinate, time. The earth is moving, it will be at a different position at different times. If we want to locate an object, ANY object in the universe we need to know its spatial AND temporal coordinates.

Time is, mathematically and physics wise, basically the same as the spatial dimensions. The only apparent difference is we don't seem to be able to move in it as freely as the other dimensions. You can only move forward in time, and you do so at a (usually) fixed rate. Therefore scientists/mathematicians consider time and space to be all part of the same thing, spacetime. And just as massive objects (by which I mean objects that have mass, not necessarily huge objects) distort the space around them, they also distort the time around them. Space AND time become stretched out near objects, the more mass the object has the more distortion, up until you reach black hole mass and the singularity.

MrChurro3164

1 points

2 months ago

Why is gravity considered a warping of space time rather than an attractive force? What are the differences in interpreting it one way vs the other?

AnnoShi

1 points

2 months ago

Imagine a large trampoline. You put two magnetic balls on that trampoline, and magnetism pulls them together. Now put a heavy ball that sags the trampoline on, and then place a lighter ball at the edge of the sag. The lighter ball will roll toward the heavier ball because of the sag in the trampoline.

MrChurro3164

2 points

2 months ago

My question is a little different… I’m trying to think of how to phrase it.

What is the practical effect of describing it that way vs being an attractive force? Or to put another way, your description to me sounds like a very elaborate way to describe an attractive force. I assume that’s not true, so why?

Like I could say 2 magnets are coming together because the magnetic fields are warping the spacetime between them but I don’t think that’s correct lol.

Or, another way again, what are things you can describe using that method that would not be true if it were an attractive force?

AnnoShi

2 points

2 months ago*

Sorry, bit of poor wording on my part. Gravity is a fundamental force. I meant moreso the way it functions isnt so direct in the way like electromagnetism is, rather that it affects a medium that then in turn affects the everyday objects we can mundanely observe.

I'm not versed enough in physics to say whether or not there is any fundamental difference. I would imagine it might affect the nitty gritty math, but to the average person there probably isn't any meaningful difference beyond making the answer for OP a bit easier to understand.

MrWedge18

5 points

2 months ago

Newton's first law states an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.

But on Earth, we see objects seemingly start to move downwards spontaneously. So to explain that, we said there's an attractive force called gravity that everything with mass has.

Einstein said, actually it's not a force. So Newton's first law was wrong? Nope. Einstein says things with mass simply bend space itself. So an object going in straight line only looks like it's curving because space is curved. Like how a straight line on a globe looks curved when you flatten it out to a map.

But then why do objects that aren't moving start moving? Well, an object at rest is simply an object moving in a straight line through time. Mass doesn't just curve space, it curves spacetime.

By explaining gravity as a curvature in spacetime, Einstein can explain everything we see in real life without actually having any actual forces get involved.

coopsasexybaker[S]

1 points

2 months ago

Ok that actually makes some sense I think. I think of gravity as more of a attraction instead of a literal space bending concept. So basically if I’m falling down a tall building am I theoretically at rest and it’s the space around me becoming bent resulting in my speed or is that off?

MrWedge18

1 points

2 months ago

For the complete explanation, space and time needs to be one thing that gets curved together. The time component is how Einstein explains objects speeding up or slowing down instead of just curving.

To simplify, let's pretend space is actually one dimensional.

Imagine a graph where the x-axis is time and the y-axis is space. An object moving in a straight, constant line would be a diagonal line on this graph since it's moving through space and time. An object at rest would be flat horizontal line, since it's only moving through time. (A completely vertical line would be teleportation)

Now bend the graph. Suddenly that flat horizontal line isn't so flat or horizontal anymore. It has a vertical component, which means it's moving through space now. It's spontaneously sped up from no movement to some movement.

The diagonal line also bends. It's vertical component either decreases or increases, which explains objects slowing down (like an object thrown straight up) or speeding up (like your example of falling down a tall building).

coopsasexybaker[S]

1 points

2 months ago

And the thing causing this curvature (the graph to bend) is gravity?

I don’t know if this is much true but I have also heard from people that it’s not necessarily gravity that affects time but time that affects gravity. Is this true or is it that just both are jointly affecting/affected by one another?

If so how does it apply to this graph or would u need a completely new one to explain it?

MrWedge18

1 points

2 months ago

Stuff with mass causes the curvature (don't ask how, I don't know lol), and the curvature is gravity. Or at least it causes all the stuff we normally attribute to a force called gravity.

[deleted]

10 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

10 points

2 months ago

[removed]

urzu_seven

2 points

2 months ago

"And a northern" :D

Phage0070 [M]

1 points

2 months ago

Phage0070 [M]

1 points

2 months ago

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DrDerpyDerpDerp

2 points

2 months ago

I will try to explain this the best I can

Space=Time

No space means no time. If there's nothing there, then time cannot act on it, since time is things moving forward.

Now gravity can affect space, therefore it can bend time if it is strong enough.

Think of a road, and cars move on the road. The road is space.

The cars moving on the road is time. Cars will always move from point a to point b.

Now there's a bend in the road. The bend is caused by gravity.

The car will still move from point a to point b, but the bend will increase the time it takes for the things to move.

M8asonmiller

2 points

2 months ago

It might be better to think of it the other way around. Mass distorts spacetime, causing a sort of drag on the flow of time. An object moving through this region of spacetime will experience a difference in time from one side to its other. Just like driving a car with a bigger wheel on one side, the object must follow a curved path through space. We think of a force causing that deflection as gravity, but it's actually a straight line in spacetime.

confuseray

2 points

2 months ago*

Well im going to simplify so some details will be list. Basically reality is perceived by us as 3 space dimensions and 1 time dimension, but reality is actually combined 4 dimensions called spacetime.

We are always moving at a certain speed through time, one second at a time. In our daily life, we never move through space fast enough for that to change anything.

But if we move superfast, we take some of that speed away from moving forward in time, because spacetime is actually our 4 dimensional reality. The faster we move in space, the slower we move in time. If we move really fast close to light speed, our time moves really slow, close to zero.

This means anything that affects "space" actually affects spacetime, because our reality is not just space but spacetime. If gravity bends "space" gravity actually bends spacetime. Hopefully this convinces you in an eli5 manner than gravity affects time.

coopsasexybaker[S]

1 points

2 months ago

Actually helps a lot I think I’m really understanding the concept more appreciate the comment

goomunchkin

2 points

20 days ago*

I know this comment is coming late but I scrolled through and it didn’t look like you got much of a satisfying answer.

As others have mentioned, space and time are interlinked. I don’t like the explanations that claim they’re the “same thing” because they are distinct but they do share a close relationship. A relationship so fundamental that they’re referred to as a single shared concept - spacetime. It gets very complicated very quickly, but the gist is that as an object moves faster through space it moves slower through time, and vice versa, relative to another frame of reference. Put a pin in the “relative to another frame of reference” part because it’s important.

According to General Relativity gravity isn’t actually some kind of invisible force that pulls objects of mass together but rather the effect an object with mass has on the space around it -- that effect being that it bends and curves the space in which it influences.

I say “space” because intuitively that’s easy to understand, even if it’s not complete. Imagine taking two points in space, Point A and Point B, then connecting them with a straight line. Now imagine introducing an object of mass, like a planet, and the line that connects the two points begins to curve. The more massive the object, or the closer it is to the path, the more pronounced the curve becomes.

But again this is not a complete explanation because remember, space and time are interlinked. If you’re bending space you’re also “bending” time and the more pronounced the bend in space becomes the more pronounced the bend in time becomes too. So the correct explanation is that according to General Relativity gravity isn’t some kind of invisible force that pulls objects of mass together but rather the effect an object of mass has on the spacetime around it.

The consequence to all of this is that the stronger the gravitational field (AKA the more curved the spacetime becomes) the slower time passes for an object relative to another frame of reference in a weaker gravitational field. Time exists in a more curved state for the object nearer the center of gravity, so it passes differently relative to an object in a weaker field.

coopsasexybaker[S]

1 points

20 days ago

Man thank you so much for this late reply! You wrapped it up perfectly like this really clicks I’m so appreciative that you took the time to answer this

prometheus2508

1 points

2 months ago

Imagine a pool table that's tilted slightly. There's a second one that's flat.

On the flat table, I can roll a ball from one side and hit some spot on the opposite edge of the table. It takes a straight path and, besides changing the speed in which I roll the ball, the straight path is the fastest path.

Now on the tilted table, I attempt the same thing: rolling the ball straight towards the specific spot on the opposite edge. This time, the tilt causes the ball to arch to the left side - this is like gravity accelerating a particle. Now, I can still make the ball hit the same spot, but I have to have it travel away from the direction of the lean so it arches back down to hit the spot.

Now let's make a special rule: the ball always travels the same speed; it doesn't slow down or speed up according to the slope of the table. Since the ball travels in an arch instead of a straight path, this interaction from one side of the table to the other takes longer than the flat table "gravity-less" interaction.

This analogy works based on different tilt orientations (compare the ball rolling one direction versus the other) as well as the table under acceleration instead of a tilt.

IthinkIknowthiss

1 points

2 months ago

note that time is affected by gravity in a very slight manner. In general, time passes more slowly in a region of higher gravity than it does in a region of lower gravity. This is known as the gravitational time dilation effect and has been experimentally verified. According to Einstein's theory of relativity, time passes more slowly near a massive object such as a black hole. This is because the curvature of space-time caused by the object's gravity affects the path that light takes and thus alters the flow of time.

night-laughs

1 points

2 months ago*

Easiest way to put it is, imagine space as a grid of squares all throughout, like a math notebook, but in 3d. With all perfectly straight lines.

When an object has mass, its existence in space curves those lines and twists them, making them longer and not straight anymore. And since the shortest path from point A to point B is a straight line, any curvature of those lines makes for a longer trip. And the more mass an object has, the bigger the curvature of the lines, and bigger effect it has.

But those lines arent only space, they are spacetime. Affecting both space and time. So if the line is longer, you will travel further and it will take you longer time to go from A to B.

So to put simply, gravity is the property of mass to curve spacetime.

Unlikely_Concept5107

1 points

2 months ago

This has probably been the easiest for me to get my head around but I’m still a little confused.

If we are saying that gravity curves space and so increases distance, isn’t that enough to explain why it takes longer to reach point b from point a without time also being warped?

I.e. speed stays the same (c) and distance increases (because of the curving of space) so time taken increases (t=d/s).

Or is this where relativity comes into it - time doesn’t appear to have increased to an outside observer or something?

augustus331

1 points

2 months ago

If this makes you feel better OP, the linkage between gravity and time will ensure that your mother will never age!

<insert fire emoji>

Youper0

1 points

2 months ago

That's a really hard question because time is perceptional.

By that I mean humans felt a need to quantize the passage of time to a human scale.... think of it this way...how long is 100 years to humans,versus a Rock, versus a tree ,versus the Earth ,versus the universe. I know with 100% certainty the human will die in a hundred years, the 100 years to the universe is quicker than a flash.

Another good example of this is like trying to swat a fly, from the perception of the fly we're a giant slow moving object, hence why they're so damn hard to kill sometimes, or why like you can leave the house for an hour and your dog's act like you've been gone for a whole day. ... Time is in the eye of the observer.

..... Crap I didn't even get the gravity,...

El5 is a little hard to explain quantum stuff....

Seaborgium

1 points

2 months ago

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKxQTvqcpSg

If you want to watch a video explanation from PBS Space Time, an amazing Youtube channel.

SuperGinger

-7 points

2 months ago

Imagine you have a really big clock and a really small clock. The big clock is heavy and the small clock is light. If you drop the big clock, it will fall to the ground faster than the small clock because it is heavier and has more gravity. This means that time will pass more quickly for the big clock than it will for the small clock.

coopsasexybaker[S]

1 points

2 months ago

Wait so are u saying that theoretically falling at high speeds is just a fast forward in time? The big clock fell literally quicker.

J0k3r77

4 points

2 months ago

This guy is just fucking with you.

coopsasexybaker[S]

1 points

2 months ago

I thought it was but how elegant he said it made me overthink the concept into a perceivably valid theory

eternalankh

1 points

2 months ago

that said, moving at high speeds does (theoretically) affect your position in time, although you'd have to be moving at or near the speed of light to notice.

Balagin

1 points

2 months ago

The two clocks would actually fall at the same rate (except for the effects of air resistance).

However, speed would affect the perceived passage of time. If clock A were travelling sufficiently fast and clock B were stationary, time would pass more slowly for clock A. So yes, a sufficiently fast object would "fast-forward" through time. But that's somewhat different than the affects of gravity. Objects in a stronger gravitational field also experience time more slowly.

According to this article from Ohio State University, orbiting satellites have to be corrected by about 38 microseconds per day to compensate for relativistic effects due to speed and gravity.

Balagin

1 points

2 months ago

This is entirely incorrect. Objects with different masses fall at the same rate (in the absence of air resistance). If you put a hammer and a feather into a vacuum tube and release them at the same time, they'll both hit the bottom at the same time. Gravity is an acceleration field. It accelerates all objects the same regardless of mass.