Man Finds Terrifying Way To Test Whether Lava Lamp Would Work On Jupiter

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Ottawa, Canada: Thanks to its immense size, Jupiter’s force of gravity is 2.5 times that of Earth. Neil Fraser set about testing whether this extra gravity would affect the functionality of a common lava lamp, but first he needed equipment that would allow him to replicate the gravity of the gas giant; so he built his on centrifuge.

The centrifuge is a genuinely terrifying device. The lights dim when it is switched on. A strong wind is produced as the centrifuge induces a cyclone in the room. The smell of boiling insulation emanates from the overloaded 25 amp cables. If not perfectly adjusted and lubricated, it will shred the teeth off solid brass gears in under a second. Runs were conducted from the relative safety of the next room while peeking through a crack in the door.

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C.S. Magor is the editor-in-chief and a reporter at large for We Interrupt and Uberreview. He currently resides in the Japanese countryside approximately two hours from Tokyo - where he has spent the better part of a decade testing his hypothesis that Japan is neither as quirky nor as interesting as others would have you believe.
51 Comments on this post.
  • Matt
    10 March 2010 at 10:05 am
    Leave a Reply

    Jupiter’s force of gravity is over 1,000 times Earth’s force of gravity.

    • C. S. Magor
      10 March 2010 at 10:54 am
      Leave a Reply

      Not according to NASA:

      The force of gravity at the surface of Jupiter is up to 2.4 times stronger than on Earth. Thus, an object that weighs 100 pounds on Earth would weigh as much as 240 pounds on Jupiter.

  • Matt
    10 March 2010 at 5:05 am
    Leave a Reply

    Jupiter’s force of gravity is over 1,000 times Earth’s force of gravity.

    • C. S. Magor
      10 March 2010 at 5:54 am
      Leave a Reply

      Not according to NASA:

      The force of gravity at the surface of Jupiter is up to 2.4 times stronger than on Earth. Thus, an object that weighs 100 pounds on Earth would weigh as much as 240 pounds on Jupiter.

  • Fentex
    10 March 2010 at 8:33 pm
    Leave a Reply

    However Jupiter doesn’t really have a surface – it has increasingly dense gases and suspended fluids and possibly a hard core of ‘something’ a long way below what we can see.

    There’s not likely to be some place which transitions from obvious atmosphere to obvious solid surface at all.

    The amount of acceleration you experience from gravity has to do with your distance from the center of the masses acting on you – Jupiters ‘surface’ gravity is surprisingly low to some poeple with regards to it’s mass because that surface is a long way from it’s center.

    • palfrei
      14 March 2010 at 7:46 pm
      Leave a Reply

      Your explanation is quite interesting. Could you elaborate more and provide other examples?

      Thanks.

      • Ryan
        21 March 2010 at 3:53 am
        Leave a Reply

        If you imagine yourself at the center of a ball, and imagine the molecules in the ball pulling at you from every direction, you could see that the forces pulling you would cancel out.

        The opposite of this is the reason that we feel gravity on Earth: the forces do not cancel out because we are on the outside of the sphere…everything is pulling us in a generally “toward-the-center” direction.

        However, on Jupiter, there is likely no “surface” until you get toward the center of the planet. At that point (if you could figure out a way to survive the extraordinary pressures), you would be close enough to the middle that the forces pulling on you would very nearly cancel out, and so there would be very little gravity.

        • palfrei
          21 March 2010 at 11:53 pm
          Leave a Reply

          Thanks for bringing it to earth.

          So is NASA wrong, partially worng or is there a theoretical problem regarding Jupiter’s attraction forces?

          • Nathan
            22 March 2010 at 2:12 pm

            NASA isn’t wrong, it just requires a bit of explaining for their number to make sense to a layman.

          • Nathan
            22 March 2010 at 2:12 pm

            NASA isn’t wrong, it just requires a bit of explaining for their number to make sense to a layman.

        • palfrei
          21 March 2010 at 11:53 pm
          Leave a Reply

          Thanks for bringing it to earth.

          So is NASA wrong, partially worng or is there a theoretical problem regarding Jupiter’s attraction forces?

      • Ryan
        21 March 2010 at 3:53 am
        Leave a Reply

        If you imagine yourself at the center of a ball, and imagine the molecules in the ball pulling at you from every direction, you could see that the forces pulling you would cancel out.

        The opposite of this is the reason that we feel gravity on Earth: the forces do not cancel out because we are on the outside of the sphere…everything is pulling us in a generally “toward-the-center” direction.

        However, on Jupiter, there is likely no “surface” until you get toward the center of the planet. At that point (if you could figure out a way to survive the extraordinary pressures), you would be close enough to the middle that the forces pulling on you would very nearly cancel out, and so there would be very little gravity.

    • palfrei
      14 March 2010 at 7:46 pm
      Leave a Reply

      Your explanation is quite interesting. Could you elaborate more and provide other examples?

      Thanks.

  • Fentex
    10 March 2010 at 3:33 pm
    Leave a Reply

    However Jupiter doesn’t really have a surface – it has increasingly dense gases and suspended fluids and possibly a hard core of ‘something’ a long way below what we can see.

    There’s not likely to be some place which transitions from obvious atmosphere to obvious solid surface at all.

    The amount of acceleration you experience from gravity has to do with your distance from the center of the masses acting on you – Jupiters ‘surface’ gravity is surprisingly low to some poeple with regards to it’s mass because that surface is a long way from it’s center.

    • palfrei
      14 March 2010 at 2:46 pm
      Leave a Reply

      Your explanation is quite interesting. Could you elaborate more and provide other examples?

      Thanks.

      • Ryan
        20 March 2010 at 10:53 pm
        Leave a Reply

        If you imagine yourself at the center of a ball, and imagine the molecules in the ball pulling at you from every direction, you could see that the forces pulling you would cancel out.

        The opposite of this is the reason that we feel gravity on Earth: the forces do not cancel out because we are on the outside of the sphere…everything is pulling us in a generally “toward-the-center” direction.

        However, on Jupiter, there is likely no “surface” until you get toward the center of the planet. At that point (if you could figure out a way to survive the extraordinary pressures), you would be close enough to the middle that the forces pulling on you would very nearly cancel out, and so there would be very little gravity.

        • palfrei
          21 March 2010 at 6:53 pm
          Leave a Reply

          Thanks for bringing it to earth.

          So is NASA wrong, partially worng or is there a theoretical problem regarding Jupiter’s attraction forces?

          • Nathan
            22 March 2010 at 9:12 am

            NASA isn’t wrong, it just requires a bit of explaining for their number to make sense to a layman.

  • allen derico
    10 March 2010 at 11:22 pm
    Leave a Reply

    This is what happens when people have too much time on their hands!

  • allen derico
    10 March 2010 at 6:22 pm
    Leave a Reply

    This is what happens when people have too much time on their hands!

  • drchaos
    11 March 2010 at 6:52 pm
    Leave a Reply

    Great project! looked like fun.
    A little science note though….
    The lava lamp mechanics only need “gravity in the vicinity” the amount of gravity has nearly nothing to do with the effect. It’s about the different densities of material in there and the density change related to the heat that effects them.

    the only effect of gravity (other than “none”) that can make a difference is when the gravity gets to a level high enough to “crush” the molecular bonds of either material changing its nature to become more/less dense with the changing heat (lava lamp light bulb at base.)

  • drchaos
    11 March 2010 at 6:52 pm
    Leave a Reply

    Great project! looked like fun.
    A little science note though….
    The lava lamp mechanics only need “gravity in the vicinity” the amount of gravity has nearly nothing to do with the effect. It’s about the different densities of material in there and the density change related to the heat that effects them.

    the only effect of gravity (other than “none”) that can make a difference is when the gravity gets to a level high enough to “crush” the molecular bonds of either material changing its nature to become more/less dense with the changing heat (lava lamp light bulb at base.)

  • drchaos
    11 March 2010 at 1:52 pm
    Leave a Reply

    Great project! looked like fun.
    A little science note though….
    The lava lamp mechanics only need “gravity in the vicinity” the amount of gravity has nearly nothing to do with the effect. It’s about the different densities of material in there and the density change related to the heat that effects them.

    the only effect of gravity (other than “none”) that can make a difference is when the gravity gets to a level high enough to “crush” the molecular bonds of either material changing its nature to become more/less dense with the changing heat (lava lamp light bulb at base.)

  • Pete
    11 March 2010 at 9:01 pm
    Leave a Reply

    Was this filmed on the lower decks of the Titanic? Diddley diddley dum dum dum!

  • Pete
    11 March 2010 at 9:01 pm
    Leave a Reply

    Was this filmed on the lower decks of the Titanic? Diddley diddley dum dum dum!

  • Pete
    11 March 2010 at 4:01 pm
    Leave a Reply

    Was this filmed on the lower decks of the Titanic? Diddley diddley dum dum dum!

  • BigJohn
    14 March 2010 at 4:43 am
    Leave a Reply

    @DrChaos

    Well stated, it is the ratio between the two materials in the lamp that is important.

  • BigJohn
    14 March 2010 at 4:43 am
    Leave a Reply

    @DrChaos

    Well stated, it is the ratio between the two materials in the lamp that is important.

  • BigJohn
    13 March 2010 at 11:43 pm
    Leave a Reply

    @DrChaos

    Well stated, it is the ratio between the two materials in the lamp that is important.

  • Jello
    21 March 2010 at 5:41 am
    Leave a Reply

    @drchaos and BigJohn

    I would assume the direction of the gravity matters as well (for the lamp to work “properly” ie. the separation occurs up and down the long axis of the lamp?

  • Jello
    21 March 2010 at 5:41 am
    Leave a Reply

    @drchaos and BigJohn

    I would assume the direction of the gravity matters as well (for the lamp to work “properly” ie. the separation occurs up and down the long axis of the lamp?

  • Jello
    21 March 2010 at 12:41 am
    Leave a Reply

    @drchaos and BigJohn

    I would assume the direction of the gravity matters as well (for the lamp to work “properly” ie. the separation occurs up and down the long axis of the lamp?

  • Joe
    22 March 2010 at 2:26 pm
    Leave a Reply

    His lava lamp would freeze on Jupiter

  • Joe
    22 March 2010 at 2:26 pm
    Leave a Reply

    His lava lamp would freeze on Jupiter

  • Joe
    22 March 2010 at 9:26 am
    Leave a Reply

    His lava lamp would freeze on Jupiter

  • Michael
    24 March 2010 at 12:42 am
    Leave a Reply

    So goddamn awesome! Meccanno FTW! 😀

  • Michael
    24 March 2010 at 12:42 am
    Leave a Reply

    So goddamn awesome! Meccanno FTW! 😀

  • Michael
    23 March 2010 at 7:42 pm
    Leave a Reply

    So goddamn awesome! Meccanno FTW! 😀

  • Jack
    24 March 2010 at 9:12 pm
    Leave a Reply

    Awsome! I bet this guy is a Dollar..

  • Jack
    24 March 2010 at 9:12 pm
    Leave a Reply

    Awsome! I bet this guy is a Dollar..

  • Jack
    24 March 2010 at 4:12 pm
    Leave a Reply

    Awsome! I bet this guy is a Dollar..

  • Latis
    29 March 2010 at 5:25 pm
    Leave a Reply

    Although, seeing as the lava-lamp operates on the basis of differences in density it only makes sense that it would continue working with more gravity… the real question would be what would happen to it at the temperatures of Jupiter… Still very fun and neat experiment to do to show the effect (or lack thereof) which is always a good idea in science =D

    Near the surface the lavalamp would be frozen if you stuck it at exactly the right depth you could approximate Earth surface temperatures and it wouldn’t matter as much… but if you went much deeper you would be getting in to the realm of super-heated substances… and the behaviour of superheated substances under great pressure is a far more interesting question than just gravity’s effect on the behaviour of substances with density differentials… It’s also entirely possible that the two fluids that make up a lava lamp would dissolve into one another at such high temperatures and would completely remove the lavalamp’s main feature… although considering the sort of lightbulb you would require to create enough of a temperature differential at that temperature… let alone the substance you would have to use instead of glass…

    So really if you wanted to try to get a lavalamp working on Jupiter the answer is that you have to be careful about where you put the lamp itself, and how you get there, and how much pressure your lavalamp can take… because to get down to room-temperature the pressure is immense as compared to Earth.

  • Latis
    29 March 2010 at 5:25 pm
    Leave a Reply

    Although, seeing as the lava-lamp operates on the basis of differences in density it only makes sense that it would continue working with more gravity… the real question would be what would happen to it at the temperatures of Jupiter… Still very fun and neat experiment to do to show the effect (or lack thereof) which is always a good idea in science =D

    Near the surface the lavalamp would be frozen if you stuck it at exactly the right depth you could approximate Earth surface temperatures and it wouldn’t matter as much… but if you went much deeper you would be getting in to the realm of super-heated substances… and the behaviour of superheated substances under great pressure is a far more interesting question than just gravity’s effect on the behaviour of substances with density differentials… It’s also entirely possible that the two fluids that make up a lava lamp would dissolve into one another at such high temperatures and would completely remove the lavalamp’s main feature… although considering the sort of lightbulb you would require to create enough of a temperature differential at that temperature… let alone the substance you would have to use instead of glass…

    So really if you wanted to try to get a lavalamp working on Jupiter the answer is that you have to be careful about where you put the lamp itself, and how you get there, and how much pressure your lavalamp can take… because to get down to room-temperature the pressure is immense as compared to Earth.

  • Latis
    29 March 2010 at 12:25 pm
    Leave a Reply

    Although, seeing as the lava-lamp operates on the basis of differences in density it only makes sense that it would continue working with more gravity… the real question would be what would happen to it at the temperatures of Jupiter… Still very fun and neat experiment to do to show the effect (or lack thereof) which is always a good idea in science =D

    Near the surface the lavalamp would be frozen if you stuck it at exactly the right depth you could approximate Earth surface temperatures and it wouldn’t matter as much… but if you went much deeper you would be getting in to the realm of super-heated substances… and the behaviour of superheated substances under great pressure is a far more interesting question than just gravity’s effect on the behaviour of substances with density differentials… It’s also entirely possible that the two fluids that make up a lava lamp would dissolve into one another at such high temperatures and would completely remove the lavalamp’s main feature… although considering the sort of lightbulb you would require to create enough of a temperature differential at that temperature… let alone the substance you would have to use instead of glass…

    So really if you wanted to try to get a lavalamp working on Jupiter the answer is that you have to be careful about where you put the lamp itself, and how you get there, and how much pressure your lavalamp can take… because to get down to room-temperature the pressure is immense as compared to Earth.

  • ChaosJive
    11 July 2010 at 2:33 pm
    Leave a Reply

    That was truly a frightening video. I would have never NEVER done that in my house.
    There very well may be some sort of surface on Jupiter, liquid or solid. Maybe it is gas all the way through. But because of the very nature of the planet atmosphere there is no way to know for sure with our current tech.
    I’ve always wanted a lava lamp.

  • ChaosJive
    11 July 2010 at 2:33 pm
    Leave a Reply

    That was truly a frightening video. I would have never NEVER done that in my house.
    There very well may be some sort of surface on Jupiter, liquid or solid. Maybe it is gas all the way through. But because of the very nature of the planet atmosphere there is no way to know for sure with our current tech.
    I’ve always wanted a lava lamp.

  • ChaosJive
    11 July 2010 at 9:33 am
    Leave a Reply

    That was truly a frightening video. I would have never NEVER done that in my house.
    There very well may be some sort of surface on Jupiter, liquid or solid. Maybe it is gas all the way through. But because of the very nature of the planet atmosphere there is no way to know for sure with our current tech.
    I’ve always wanted a lava lamp.

  • Anarkist44
    30 October 2010 at 4:31 am
    Leave a Reply

    Umm ok This is cool but the bigger problem would be finding a surface to put it on since jupiter is made of gas Xp

    • AO
      1 November 2010 at 7:01 am
      Leave a Reply

      Not to mention finding a place to plug it in.

  • Stefan-Michael
    23 November 2010 at 12:43 pm
    Leave a Reply

    I don’t know why this guy went through all the trouble in an attempt to simulate this test when there is a much better an easier way to confer his hypotheis. First you must start out by purchasing a l o n g extention cord….

  • Jesse
    4 April 2012 at 1:20 am
    Leave a Reply

    except the force was outwards… so it was like the lava lamp was laying flat. for such smart guy that could build a centrifuge he sure did mess up this experiment

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