While the Gravity mode models a constant gravity field that resembles the situation on Earth's surface, the "sun" mode models a central force field that resembles the situation in space. Its gravity field is modeled to simulate the force field of a pointlike mass. This mass is simply added as a usual geometric point in the Add a Point mode. Unlike a free mass, such a sun will not move during a simulation. It only exerts a force on each free mass. The force is bigger for masses that are closer to the sun. The exact relation between the distance dist, the masses involved, and the force is described by the following equation (this is in essence Newton's law of gravity):
Free masses with an initial velocity will move in an elliptical, parabolic, or hyperbolic path if they are under the force of a sun. In CindyLab such a situation can be constructed and simulated with a handful of mouse clicks (drawing a sun, drawing a mass with velocity, and starting the animation). The picture below shows the result of such a situation.
The situation will become even more interesting if two suns are present. The picture below shows a recorded trace of a planet in the combined force field of two suns.
The following two images give an impression of the force field that is caused by one or by two suns to a generic mass. The pictures were generated by the
A sun has one item that can be changed by the inspector: its initial mass. By default this mass is set to be 10, which is ten times the mass of a default mass.
A CindyLab gravity is equipped with a built-in scaling factor, which is set to a relatively small value. The actual value of the gravityconstant is calculated as this factor times the length of the gravity arrow in the drawing.
Suns and CindyScript
Like any CindyLab object, a sun provides several fields that can be read and very often set by CindyScript. The following list shows the accessible fields for gravity:
Contributors to this page: Kortenkamp
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