Gravity at Earth's Surface

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Physical Law

The acceleration due to gravity at the surface of Earth is approximately given by:

$g = 9.8 \ \mathrm N \ \mathrm {kg}^{-1}$

Note that this is equivalent to

$g = 9.8 \ \mathrm M \ \mathrm s^{-2}$

as an acceleration can be defined as the force per unit mass from Newton's Second Law of Motion.


Proof

From Acceleration Due to Gravity, we have that:

$g = \dfrac {G M} {r^2}$

where:

$g$ is the acceleration on the body caused by the gravitational field of Earth
$M$ is the mass of Earth, approximately $5.9736 \times 10^{24}\,\mathrm {kg}$
$G$ is the gravitational constant, approximately $6.674 \times 10^{-11} \, \mathrm N \, \mathrm m^2 \, \mathrm {kg}^{-2}$
$r$ is the radius of Earth, approximately $6.371 \times 10^{6}\,\mathrm m$.

Hence the result, by direct numerical calculation.

$\blacksquare$


Note that the value of $r$ is significantly variable, depending on where you are on Earth.


For fuller detail, see Gravity of Earth at Wikipedia.


Sources