##### Wiktionary

**center of mass**

n. (standard spelling of centre of mass from=American spelling English)

##### WordNet

**center of mass**

n. point representing the mean position of the matter in a body [syn: centre of mass]

##### Wikipedia

**Center of mass**

In physics, the **center of mass** of a distribution of mass in space is the unique point where the weighted relative position of the distributed mass sums to zero or the point where if a force is applied causes it to move in direction of force without rotation. The distribution of mass is balanced around the center of mass and the average of the weighted position coordinates of the distributed mass defines its coordinates. Calculations in mechanics are often simplified when formulated with respect to the center of mass.

*In the case of a single* rigid body, the center of mass is fixed in relation to the body, and if the body has uniform density, it will be located at the centroid. The center of mass may be located outside the physical body, as is sometimes the case for hollow or open-shaped objects, such as a horseshoe. In the case of a distribution of separate bodies, such as the planets of the Solar System, the center of mass may not correspond to the position of any individual member of the system.

The center of mass is a useful reference point for calculations in mechanics that involve masses distributed in space, such as the linear and angular momentum of planetary bodies and rigid body dynamics. In orbital mechanics, the equations of motion of planets are formulated as point masses located at the centers of mass. The center of mass frame is an inertial frame in which the center of mass of a system is at rest with respect to the origin of the coordinate system.

**Center of mass (relativistic)**

In physics, **relativistic center of mass** refers to the mathematical and physical concepts that define the center of mass of a system of particles in relativistic mechanics and relativistic quantum mechanics.