Escape Velocity, Energy, and Rotation

The Great Courses
Show More

If you are a student or a professor:

Watch now

If you are a librarian or a professor:

Related videos

Stars in Their Courses—Orbital Mechanics
Newton was the first to realize that objects could, in theory, be sent into orbit around Earth. Explore how this works in practice, using the ideas of energy and angular momentum to study how satellites, moons, planets, and stars move through space.
Part I: Acceleration Machines - Launching a Space Vehicle
Part of the Series: Physics of Spaceflight Series
Concepts Covered:
  • Newton's Laws of Motion
  • Kinematics
  • Conservation of Energy & Momentum
  • Power
  • Aerodynamic Effects
This program details the physics involved in launching a space vehicle. The Space Shuttle and Saturn V launches are dynamically examined in terms of the vehicle's thrust, changing weight, net force, acceleration, and…
What Are Tides? Earth and Beyond
Trace the origin of tides to the simple fact that gravity varies from point to point in space. This leads not just to the rise and fall of the ocean, but to the gradual slowing of Earth's rotation, Saturn's spectacular ring system, volcanoes on Jupiter's moon Io, and many other…
The Strangest Force
Begin your exploration of gravity with Isaac Newton and the famous story of the apple. Why was it such a breakthrough to connect a falling apple with the faraway moon? Review the essential characteristics of gravity and learn why small asteroids and large planets have such different shapes.
The Falling Laboratory
Einstein focused on gravity in his general theory of relativity. Hear about his "happiest thought"--the realization that a man in free fall perceives gravity as zero. This simple insight resolved a mystery going all the way back to Newton and led Einstein to the startling discovery that gravity affects light…
Nudge—Perturbations of Orbits
For the next three episodes, study the effects of gravity on the motions of more than two bodies. Here, see how even very small orbital changes--small perturbations--are significant. Such effects have revealed the presence of unknown planets, both in our own solar system and around other stars.
Universal Gravitation
See how Newton was able to finish Kepler's revolution by formulating the law of universal gravitation, which says that every object exerts an attractive force on every other object. Also explore Newton's related discovery of the three laws of motion, which underlie the science of mechanics.
History's Mysteries
Begin this journey by taking a closer look at concepts that were once unexplainable but are now better understood. You'll focus on two such former mysteries: the existence of an invisible "aether" through which light and sound were believed to travel and the orbit of Mercury, which seemed to violate…
Spacetime Tells Matter How to Move
See how gravity affects Minkowski's spacetime geometry, discovering that motion in a gravitational field follows the straightest path in curved spacetime. The curvature in spacetime is not caused by gravity; it is gravity. This startling idea is the essence of Einstein's general theory of relativity.
From Forces to Fields
For the rest of the course, focus on the revolutionary view of gravitation launched by Albert Einstein. Review new ideas about fields that allowed physics to extend beyond Newtonian mechanics. Then see how Einstein modified Newton's laws and created the special theory of relativity.
Gravitomagnetism and Gravitational Waves
The general theory of relativity predicts new phenomena of gravity analogous to those of electromagnetism. Discover how ultra-sensitive experiments have detected the gravitomagnetism of the Earth, and follow the search for elusive gravitational waves that travel through space.
Part II: Physics in Space - Orbital Motion and Re-entry
Part of the Series: Physics of Spaceflight Series
Concepts Covered:
  • Newton's Laws of Motion
  • Circular Motion
  • Rotational Dynamics
  • Heat
  • Conservation of Energy
This program focuses on the physics of orbital motion and re-entry into the earth's atmosphere. The program discusses the dynamics of orbital motion and the apparent weightlessness experienced while in orbit. Kepler's 3 laws…