Life's Little Mysteries

Would I Weigh Less at the Equator?

mass at the equator, weight at the equator, would I weigh less at the equator
Gravity has less pull at the equator. (Image credit: NASA/NOAA.)

Amazingly, you would experience less gravity at Earth’s equator. An object's gravitational pull on another object depends upon both objects' masses and their mutual distance.

Earth has a bulge at the equator created by the planet’s rotation and a moving body’s tendency to continue in a straight line. (Sometimes this is misleadingly called "centrifugal force", but it's really just Newton’s laws of motion.) The planet's spare tire creates an uneven gravitational field.

While standing at the equator you are further away from the bulk of Earth’s mass than at the poles, so the planet exerts less pull on you. But don’t quit your diet and move to Brazil: an object at the equator weighs a mere 0.5 percent less than at the poles — less than a pound for anyone under 200 pounds.

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