Newton's Cannon

Like most of the classical scientists, Sir Isacc Newton was a dreamer too. Some of his dreams led to the amazing discoveries that he is famous for and laid the foundation for theories, most of which stood the test of time for well over three centuries.

Newton' Cannon, came about as a result of one such dream, a thought experiment - to be precise: Sir Isaac dreamed of the path of a cannon ball in the event of it being horizontally fired by a cannon at the top of a high mountain.

Had it not for the gravitational pull by the Earth, Newton argued, the cannon would have moved horizontally along a tangential path. Since the gravitational pull exists, he imagined the cannon ball approaching the surface of the Earth - at relatively low speed.

If the speed is high enough, Newton said, the cannon ball would orbit the Earth exactly like our moon.

Please make sure you change the speed before firing the cannon ball.

Newton Cannon



Newton outlined his thoughts in a booklet called, A Treatise of the System of the World. What Newton envisioned in this thought experiment is as follows:

Newton cannon ball