Wednesday, August 21, 2013

No Need to Diet, Just Move to a New City!

Most people think that gravity is a constant.  The same across the entire planet.  However, because the Earth varies in shape and density, so does the amount of gravity. A super-accurate gravity map now reveals that the fluctuations are vary even more than previously thought by scientists.

Scientists from Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia, gathered data from satellite accelerometers and topographic studies, which they used to map out the varying gravitational field between of over 80 per cent of Earth's land masses. Over 3 billion measurement points were used, down to a resolution of around 250 meters. Your PC at home would normally take 5 seconds to calculate each point; however, the scientists were able to use a supercomputer which got the job done in just three weeks.

Scientists found that Mount Nevado Huascarán in Peru has the lowest gravitational acceleration, whereas the highest occurs at the surface of the Arctic Ocean. New Scientist puts into perspective the consequences of the findings:

"[I]n the unlikely event that you found yourself falling from a height of 100 meters at each point, you would hit the surface in Peru about 16 milliseconds later than in the Arctic. You would also lose 1 per cent of your body weight in moving from the Arctic to the Peruvian mountaintop."

Geophysical Research Letters via New Scientist via Gizmodo

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