Physics KS3 / GCSE: Gravity on different worlds

Professor Brian Cox simulates the strength of gravity on other planets using a centrifuge in Holland.

Gravity is the force that keeps our feet on the ground.

Although it may appear constant and unchanging, this force varies on all the planets in the solar system and on the exoplanets orbiting other stars.

The greater the planet's mass, the greater the force of gravity.

Brian gets inside the centrifuge to experience what it would be like to stand on the surface of Neptune, Jupiter, OGLE2-TR-L9b and WASP-8b, which has a gravitation force 5 times that of Earth.

This clip is from the series Wonders of the Universe.

Teacher Notes

Introduce the relationship between gravity and weight with this clip.

This could be modeled by having sealed boxes containing masses which give the feel of what 1kg would feel like on different planets.

This could then lead on to worked examples of the formula used for the calculations before students can carry out their own.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching Physics.

This topic appears in OCR, Edexcel, AQA, WJEC KS4/GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 4/5 in Scotland.