What is gravitational acceleration? - Definition from WhatIs.com

Definition

gravitational acceleration

Part of the IT standards and organizations glossary:

Gravitational acceleration (symbolized g) is an expression used in physics to indicate the intensity of a gravitational field. It is expressed in meters per second squared (m/s 2 ). At the surface of the earth, 1 g is about 9.8 m/s 2 .

The use of the term acceleration in conjunction with gravity arises from Einstein's principle of equivalence, which was a cornerstone in the development of the general theory of relativity. This principle states that the force produced by a gravitational field is qualitatively the same (in terms of how it affects physical objects, time, and space) as the force produced when a reference frame accelerates.

Suppose a deep-space vessel accelerates at 9.8 m/s 2 , far away from the gravitational field of any planet or star. The occupants of that space ship experience a force equal to the force of gravity at the earth's surface (1 g), and this force has the same physical effect as gravitation. Conversely, a free-falling object near the earth's surface gains downward speed at a rate of 9.8 m/s 2 .

The gravity on the surface of Mars is approximately 0.37 g; the gravity in the atmosphere of Jupiter is about 2.5 g. The astronauts in space flights, and the pilots of some fighter aircraft, are subjected to gravitational acceleration levels of up to 6 or 8 g.

Also see acceleration and Table of Physical Units and Constants .

This was last updated in September 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

  • business process

    - A business process is the flow of an activity -- or set of activities -- designed to accomplish a specific organizational goal. Business processes are often depicted visually with a flowchart showi... (SearchCIO.com)

  • Transport Layer Security (TLS)

    - The Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol defines a mechanism to encrypt and maintain data integrity for communications over a network. (SearchSecurity.com)

  • mass (m)

    - Mass (symbolized m) is a dimensionless quantity representing the amount of matter in a particle or object. (WhatIs.com)

Glossaries

  • IT standards and organizations

    - Terms related to information technology (IT) standards, including definitions about IT organizations and words and phrases about policies and compliance.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question About gravitational accelerationPowered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Tech TalkComment

Share
Comments

    Results

    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.