In our discussions so far, we have only considered gravitation in terms of the gravitational force itself. Another valuable concept in the study of gravitation (and indeed, in analogous fashion, electric fields and electrostatics) is the concept of gravitational potential. The concept of gravitational potential and potential energy also enables the solution of certain types of problem that are difficult to solve by other means, as we shall see.

In essence, gravitational potential is concerned with the work that needs to be done by anexternalentity to bring a system of masses into a certain configuration, taking into account the gravitational attraction between those masses. To illustrate this, consider the set up in the following diagram:

To evaluate the total work done in moving from infinity to a separationR, it is necessary to use integral calculus on the above expression. The result is found to be:

Definitions and Explanations provided by Mart100