What is the Difference Between Gravity and Gravitation

The key difference between gravity and gravitation is that gravity is the force between an object and Earth, which is a very big object, whereas gravitation is an acting force between two bodies.

Gravity and gravitation are usually taken as similar terms that describe the same force between two objects that are known as bodies. However, there is a slight difference between these two terms in terms of their application.

CONTENTS

1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Gravity
3. What is Gravitation
4. Gravity vs Gravitation in Tabular Form
5. Summary – Gravity vs Gravitation

What is Gravity?

Gravity is the acting force between an object and the Earth, a very big object. It is generally a natural concept that describes the attraction between mass or energy with one another. Sometimes, we call this concept gravitation as well, but there is a slight difference in the two terms. The mass or energy in this context can refer to planets, stars, galaxies, and light. Gravity causes the weight of an object on Earth. Moreover, the gravity of the moon causes the tides of the oceans.

The most accurate description of gravity is given by the general theory of relativity that was proposed by Albert Einstein in 1915. This theory describes gravity as the curvature of spacetime but not as a force. The curvature of spacetime is described as caused by the uneven distribution of mass, which causes the masses to move along the geodesic lines.

Among the fundamental interactions of physics, gravity can be defined as the weakest of four fundamental interactions. It is approximately 1038 times weaker than a strong interaction. Moreover, it is 1036 times weaker than the electromagnetic force and 1029 times weaker than the weak interaction.

What is Gravitation?

Gravitation is the acting force between two objects named bodies. These bodies can be either masses or energies. It is generally a natural concept that describes the attraction between mass or energy with one another.

Newton’s law of universal gravitation states that every particle tends to attract other particles in the universe using a force that is usually directly proportional to the product of the masses of the objects, and it is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the centers of the masses.

Figure 01: The Gravitational Field Strength within the Earth

Sometimes, gravitation is also known as gravity, which means we usually use these terms interchangeably because they refer to the same acting force between different masses. However, these terms are different from each other slightly when the type of masses that are considered here are taken into account.

What is the Difference Between Gravity and Gravitation?

Gravity and gravitation are usually taken as similar terms that describe the same force between two objects that are known as bodies. Gravity is the acting force between an object and the Earth. Gravitation is a natural concept that describes the attraction between mass or energy with one another. Therefore, the key difference between gravity and gravitation is that gravity is the force between an object and Earth, which is a very big object, whereas gravitation is an acting force between two bodies.

The following figure summarizes the difference between gravity and gravitation in tabular form.

Summary – Gravity vs Gravitation

Gravity is the acting force between an object and the Earth. Gravitation is a natural concept that describes the attraction between mass or energy with one another. The key difference between gravity and gravitation is that gravity is the force between an object and Earth, which is a very big object, whereas gravitation is an acting force between two bodies.