Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

International Team Of Scientists Attempts To Measure Speed Of Gravity

Date:
September 12, 2002
Source:
University Of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Ever since Albert Einstein proposed the general theory of relativity in 1916, physicists worldwide have tested the theory's underlying principles. While some principles - such as the speed of light is a constant - have been proven, others have not. Now, through a combination of modern technology, the alignment of a unique group of celestial bodies on Sept. 8, and an experiment conceived by a University of Missouri-Columbia physicist, one more of those principles might soon be proven.

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Ever since Albert Einstein proposed the general theory of relativity in 1916, physicists worldwide have tested the theory's underlying principles. While some principles - such as the speed of light is a constant - have been proven, others have not. Now, through a combination of modern technology, the alignment of a unique group of celestial bodies on Sept. 8, and an experiment conceived by a University of Missouri-Columbia physicist, one more of those principles might soon be proven.

"According to Einstein's theory, the speed of gravity is assumed to be equal to the speed of light," said Sergei Kopeikin, MU associate professor of physics and astronomy. "While there is indirect evidence this is true, the speed has never been measured directly, and that's what we're attempting to do in an experiment that will not be possible again for another decade."

The experiment will involve precisely measuring the angular distances between several quasars, celestial objects in distant galaxies that resemble stars. On Sept. 8, Jupiter will pass very close to the primary quasar. When it does, its gravity will cause the quasar's position in the sky to shift by a distance that depends on the speed of gravity. Kopeikin and Ed Fomalont, a radio astronomer with the National Science Foundation's National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), will use an observational technique they developed to compare the position of the primary quasar to the position of other quasars unaffected by Jupiter. Using their data, they hope to confirm the accuracy of Einstein's theory further.

Measurements will be made using the NRAO's Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), a series of 10, 25-meter radio telescopes located from the Virgin Islands to Hawaii, and the 100-meter radio telescope in Effelsberg, Germany, which is operated by the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy. "Results from recent VLBA test observations indicate we can reach the accuracy necessary to determine the speed of gravity if the experiment goes well," Fomalont said.

"Japanese and NASA scientists also will conduct the experiment independently using other telescopes around the world, so we'll be able to compare our findings," Kopeikin said. "We believe the general theory of relativity is correct and that the speed of gravity is equal to the speed of light."

"The techniques we've employed for this experiment can also be used to more precisely determine the position of other objects in space," Fomalont said. "With more exact positioning of satellites, we could improve telecommunications. Unmanned space navigation could also be improved, allowing us to explore the solar system more deliberately."

The scientists said final results from the experiment should be available in mid-November.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Missouri-Columbia. "International Team Of Scientists Attempts To Measure Speed Of Gravity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 September 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/09/020912071129.htm>.
University Of Missouri-Columbia. (2002, September 12). International Team Of Scientists Attempts To Measure Speed Of Gravity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/09/020912071129.htm
University Of Missouri-Columbia. "International Team Of Scientists Attempts To Measure Speed Of Gravity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/09/020912071129.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Argentina's Tax Evaders Detected, Hunted Down by Drones

Argentina's Tax Evaders Detected, Hunted Down by Drones

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — Argentina doesn't only have Lionel Messi the footballer, it has now also acquired "Mesi" the drone system which monitors undeclared mansions, swimming pools and soy fields to curb tax evasion in the country. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CERN Celebrates 60 Years of Science

CERN Celebrates 60 Years of Science

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 29, 2014) — CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, celebrates 60 years of bringing nations together through science. As Joanna Partridge reports from inside the famous science centre it's also planning to turn the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator back on after an upgrade. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
This 'Invisibility Cloak' Is Simpler Than Most

This 'Invisibility Cloak' Is Simpler Than Most

Newsy (Sep. 28, 2014) — Researchers from the University of Rochester have created a type of invisibility cloak with simple focal lenses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins