Glossary term: Tide

Redirected from Tidal force

Description: On Earth, the gravitational force is almost constant, pointing what we call downwards. But over larger distances, gravity's strength and direction vary, and those differences are called tidal forces. Earth and Moon, for instance, orbit a common center of mass due to their mutual gravitational attraction, but objects on the side of Earth nearer the Moon will be accelerated a bit stronger towards the Moon, objects on the opposite side of Earth somewhat less. Earth's ocean water follows those tidal accelerations, forming "tidal bulges" directly under the Moon and on the opposite side, which produces Earth's tides. Closer than the so-called Roche limit, a planet's tidal force can tear apart larger gravitationally-bound objects like moons. Near a black hole, tidal forces grow beyond limit.

Related Terms:

See this term in other languages

Term and definition status: This term and its definition is still awaiting approval

The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".