# central force

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## Central force

A force whose line of action is always directed toward a fixed point. The central force may attract or repel. The point toward or from which the force acts is called the center of force. If the central force attracts a material particle, the path of the particle is a curve concave toward the center of force; if the central force repels the particle, its orbit is convex to the center of force. Undisturbed orbital motion under the influence of a central force satisfies Kepler's law of areas.

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Physics. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

## central force

A force on a moving body that is directed toward a fixed point or toward a point moving according to known laws. The gravitational attraction between the Sun and a planet is an example.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

## Central Force

a force that is applied to a material body and whose line of action, regardless of the position of the body, passes through some specific point called the center of force. Examples of central forces include gravitational forces, which are directed toward the center of the sun or of a planet, and the electrostatic forces of attraction and repulsion. Under the influence of a central force, the center of mass of an unrestrained body moves along a plane curve and the line segment that connects the center of mass and the center of force sweeps out equal areas in equal intervals of time (seeLAW OF AREAS). The theory of motion under the influence of a central force has important applications in celestial mechanics, for example, in the calculation of the motion of spacecraft and artificial satellites.

## central force

[′sen·trəl ′fȯrs]
(mechanics)
A force whose line of action is always directed toward a fixed point; the force may attract or repel.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Al-Wasat has been presented as a central force between Iraqi Arab tribalism and Kurdish separatism, between sectarianism and atheism, and between the leftist and rightist ideologies.
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Secular progressives have been predicting the demise of religion for over two hundred years; but even those who were to be liberated by such aren't agreeing: such is the message of THE GOD THAT DID NOT FAIL: HOW RELIGION BUILT AND SUSTAINS THE WEST explores both biblical faith and the rejection of its foundations, which has encouraged ignorance of its history as a central force in the development of the West.
It became clear to management that a knowledgeable central force would be needed to coordinate the efforts of these areas.
The capital campaign, appropriately named for the Navajo concept of hope, has helped establish the tribal colleges as a positive and central force in American Indian higher education, the communities served by the tribal colleges and ultimately, in all of America.
Reflection encourages critical thinking and is a central force in the design and fulfillment of curricular objectives.
But the idea that drag as the central force in a story line could be thought that funny by the American Film Institute--not the British, where drag has long been one of the fundamental entertainment forms--well, that is pretty mainstream.
The picture that now emerges of what actually occurred during the executive privilege confrontation illustrates that, far from having an ancillary role in the affair, the Justice Department was the central force behind the withholding of the documents.
Warburg in 1925, AFHU has been a central force in Hebrew University's rise to international prominence.

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