n. (context physics English) the field produced by the gravitational force of mass
n. a field of force surrounding a body of finite mass
In physics, a gravitational field is a model used to explain the influence that a massive body extends into the space around itself, producing a force on another massive body. Thus, a gravitational field is used to explain gravitational phenomena, and is measured in newtons per kilogram (N/kg). In its original concept, gravity was a force between point masses. Following Newton, Laplace attempted to model gravity as some kind of radiation field or fluid, and since the 19th century explanations for gravity have usually been taught in terms of a field model, rather than a point attraction.
In a field model, rather than two particles attracting each other, the particles distort spacetime via their mass, and this distortion is what is perceived and measured as a "force". In such a model one states that matter moves in certain ways in response to the curvature of spacetime, and that there is either no gravitational force, or that gravity is a fictitious force.
Usage examples of "gravitational field".
Beside it hung its companion star huge, pale, distorted into a squat egg-shape by the neutron star's fierce gravitational field.
Obviously the wave-length of the waves we receive will be the same as the wavelength at which they are emitted (the gravitational field of the galaxy will not be large enough to have a significant effect).
He found it was too large to be caused by a gravitational field: if it had been a gravitational red shift, the object would have to be so massive and so near to us that it would disturb the orbits of planets in the Solar System.
There is, for example, the gravitational red shift, in which the light leaving an intense gravitational field has to do so much work to escape that it loses energy during the journey, the process perceived by a distant observer as a shift of the escaping light to longer wavelengths and redder colors.
An impressive gain, though the tidal forces derived from a gravitational field of over 10,000,000 gees might leave the ship's passengers a little the worse for wear.
The gravitational field of every nearby star within a dozen light-years has to be taken into account.
The computer, having detected anomalies in the planet's gravitational field, as if the natives here had invented antigravity, quite logically had interpreted this as enemy weapons research.
The shuttle was bobbing and shaking along due to the rapidly changing gravitational field of the binary orbital motion as if it were a raft in a whitewater-filled river.
No matter how powerful the gravitational field of a black hole is, you can't feel it as long as you're in orbit around it.
The hydrogen escaped from the Earth's relatively weak gravitational field, so the proportion of oxygen got bigger while that of water vapour got smaller.
Remember, we have to get far enough out from the sun so that the gravitational field will be weak enough for the drive to overcome it.
It is true, the sun's gravitational field does decrease, by a minute amount, despite the fact that our sun loses a thousand million tons of matter every four minutes.
The incoming gravitational field, which is what the meteor represents, is repelled by the aggie field.