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Monday, January 9, 2012

The Tides

The Tidal Force
The tidal force is a secondary effect of the force of gravity and is responsible for the tides. It arises because the gravitational force per unit mass exerted on one body by a second body is not constant across its diameter, the side nearest to the second being more attracted by it than the side farther away. Stated differently, the tidal force is a differential force. Consider three things being pulled by the moon: the oceans nearest the moon, the solid earth, and the oceans farthest from the moon. The moon pulls on the solid earth, but it pulls harder on the near oceans, so they approach the moon more causing a high tide; and the moon pulls least of all on the far oceans (on the other side of the planet), so they stay behind more, causing another high tide at the same time. If we imagine looking at the Earth from space, we see that the whole Earth was pulled, but the near oceans more and the far oceans less; the far oceans stayed behind since they are pulled less (since they are farther away).
in Wikipedia

More information in How Stuff Works

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