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tidal force

the gravitational pull exerted by a celestial body that raises the tides on another body within the gravitational field, dependent on the varying distance between the bodies. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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tidal-force in Science
tidal force  
A secondary effect of the gravitational forces between two objects orbiting each other, such as the Earth and the Moon, that tends to elongate each body along the axis of a line connecting their centers. Tidal forces are responsible for the fluctuation of the tides as well as for the synchronous rotation of certain moons as they orbit their planets.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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