Conceptual Physics (12th Edition)

Published by Addison-Wesley
ISBN 10: 0321909100
ISBN 13: 978-0-32190-910-7

Chapter 36 - Think and Explain: 36

Answer

The gravitational field strength will increase on the surface of a shrinking star. The star is getting smaller while its mass M remains the same, i.e., the star's mass is becoming compacted.

Work Step by Step

Consider the force on a body at the surface of the star. Newton's law of gravitation tells us that the gravitational attraction is $F = G \frac{Mm}{d^{2}}$. As the star collapses, d decreases while M and m stay constant, so the force increases.
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