|There is more information available on this subject at Gravity well on the English Wikipedia.|
In physics, a gravity well is the gravitational potential field around a massive body (a particular kind of potential well). Physical models of gravity wells are sometimes used to illustrate orbital mechanics. Gravity wells are frequently confused with general relativistic embedding diagrams, but the two concepts are unrelated.
Large objects can generate gravitational fields that extend far into space. Consequently, human slipspace navigation is hindered by the effect these gravity wells have upon the quantum field of the Slipstream, and ships must make their calculations away from such factors. With an increased resolution of the Slipstream, such as that possessed by Forerunner and, consequently, Covenant slipspace matrices, calculations can be made to compensate for this effect.
Gravitational slingshot refers to use of the relative movement and gravity of a celestial body to alter the path and speed of a spacecraft. In the Halo universe, this maneuver is commonly known as "Slingshot orbit." It has been used in numerous occasions. Preston Cole was known to be adept in using a planet's gravity well to his advantage in space combat.
- In Halo Wars, the gravity well of an artificial star within Shield 0459 was used to accelerate the UNSC Spirit of Fire to safety after creating a chain reaction and sending the star into its supernova state.
- In Halo: First Strike, Cortana used the gravity well of Basis to slingshot John-117's Longsword interceptor around it and simultaneously save survivors from Installation 04.