Blackbody radiation induces attractive force stronger than gravity
Perfectly non-reflective objects, called blackbodies, produce blackbody radiation when at a uniform temperature. Although the properties of blackbody radiation depend on the blackbody’s temperature, this radiation has always been thought to have a net repulsive effect. Now in a new study, scientists have theoretically shown that blackbody radiation induces a second force on nearby atoms and molecules that is usually attractive and, quite surprisingly, even stronger than the repulsive radiation pressure. Consequently, the atoms and molecules are pulled toward the blackbody surface by a net attractive force that can be even stronger than gravity. The new attractive force—which the scientists call the “blackbody force"—suggests that a variety of astrophysical scenarios should be revisited.