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Articles on Mass

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The Earth is round. Alistair Berg/DigitalVision via Getty Images

Why are planets round?

Gravity, mass and centrifugal force all contribute to the final shape of a planet.
When Pope John Paul II was beatified, Zimbabwe’s ruler, Robert Mugabe, was in attendance and given Communion. Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Controversy over Communion in the Catholic Church goes back some 2,000 years

Biden is not the first public figure to whom the Catholic Church wants to deny Communion. Over the centuries, the Church has often come under criticism for either denying or giving Communion.
A person falling into a black hole and being stretched while approaching the black hole’s horizon. Leo Rodriguez and Shanshan Rodriguez

Could a human enter a black hole to study it?

If you are a sci-fi junkie you’ve probably wondered what would happen if you were unlucky enough to fall into a black hole. How well you’d fare all depends on the type of black hole.
In May 2019, the measure of a kilogram was changed. This has implications for how we measure wealth. Shutterstock

Redefining the kilogram means redefining how we measure wealth

Measurement and standards are at the heart of how we trade commodities and measure wealth. So what happens now that the planet’s most critical standard has been completely overhauled?
Gravity helps stars to form. UNIMAP / L. Piazzo, La Sapienza – Università di Roma; E. Schisano / G. Li Causi, IAPS/INAF, Italy

Curious Kids: how long has gravity existed?

Gravity exists because the universe is full of ‘stuff’ – here’s how it came to be.
The mass of the Earth is big enough that the gravitational force it creates can pull the hard shape of ice, rock and metal into a sphere. NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Suomi NPP VIIRS data from Miguel Román, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Curious Kids: Why is the Earth round?

Imagine the Earth pulling everything it is made up of, all of its mass, towards its centre. This happens evenly all over the Earth, causing it to take on a round shape.
You can feel the weight of an object on Earth because of its mass. But what is mass? Flickr/Jeremy Brooks

Explainer: what is mass?

We talk about mass all the time but what is it that actually gives an object mass? And why do some things have mass and others have no mass at all?

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