? asked in Science & MathematicsPhysics · 1 decade ago

Please help me with this... An electromagnet on the ceiling of an airplane holds a steel... ?

An electromagnet on the ceiling of an airplane holds a steel ball. When a button is pushed, the magnet releases the ball. The experiment is first done while the plane is parked on the ground, and the point where the ball hits the floor is marked with an X. Then the experiment is repeated while the plane is flying level at a steady 500 mph.

Does the ball land slightly in front of the X (toward the nose of the plane), on the X, or slightly behind the X (toward the tail of the plane)?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    As long as the plane maintains a constant speed, the ball will land exactly on the X.

    Precisely as Einstein predicted in his general theory of relativity.

    However, according to Newtons laws of gravity, the ball will take a slightly longer time to travel the distance to the floor - depending on the altitude.

    This answer assumes the airplane has zero angle of attack (as level as it was on the ground).

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  • 1 decade ago

    It hits on the X. This is a good example of the relativity of motion and momentum. When the plane is moving, everything in the plane is also moving, and will continue to move as long as there is no force to oppose it. The plane encounters air resistance (negated by the engines), but the objects inside do not, so anything falling inside will move with the plane.

    If the plane is in any way not level during either drop, or it's speed changes during the flight of the ball, it's a different story.

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  • aclrfp
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    This is a question often asked by teachers.

    When you are standing still on earth, you are not still at all. The earth is rotating upon its axis and circling the sun. The sun is revolving around the center of our galaxy and our galaxy is moving through space. With all those forces and speeds added up, we are really moving pretty fast, but we don't feel it.

    That ball will always hit the X if the speed of the plane stays the same.

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