Glossary term: Weight

Description: Earth exerts a force known as gravity, which pulls all objects towards Earth's center. On or near Earth's surface, we experience that force as pulling us and everything else downward. For any object, the strength of the downward-pulling force is called that object's weight. On any given planet, an object's mass is directly proportional to the object's mass, and in everyday life, we sometimes use the terms weight and mass interchangeably. When we use bathroom scales, those scales in fact measure our weight, but gives us the results as a value for our mass, in kilograms, pounds or another mass unit. But if we stood on the Moon, or on the surface of another planet, our mass would still be the same, but our weight would be different, so it's important to keep the two terms apart!

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".