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As life went on, Newton wondered what kept the moon traveling in its orbit around Earth.
One day, Newton saw an apple fall from a tree. He assumed that the force that was pulling the apple to the ground was also pulling on the moon.
The only problem was that the moon was a lot further from Earth than the tree.
Newton reasoned that the force was just strong enough to bend the moon’s motion into a nearly circular path around Earth.
Newton called this force gravity, he explained that all physical objects had a force of attraction between them, and the strength of the force depended on the masses of the objects and the distance between them. One example was, the moon and Earth tugged on each other.
Supporting his theory about the moon, Newton described that, at a certain point, these “tugs” cancel each other out, which results in the moon being trapped in its orbit around Earth. In contrast, the apple with a small mass was close to Earth, so gravity dragged it to the ground.
Newton was right, the same force that made the apple fall to the ground, also pulled on the moon to keep it in a nearly circular path around Earth.
In 1687, Newton published a book known as the Principia. The book presented the laws of gravity, as well as Newton's three laws of motion, proving a physical explanation for what earlier scientists had discovered.
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