Guide Relativity, The general theory

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Elements of this image furnished by NASA. So the curvature of space-time dictates the motion of objects in our Universe, even massless objects like photons or light particles that travel in a straight line through curved space-time.

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All You Need To Know About Albert Einstein's General Theory Of Relativity, 100 Years Old Today

It was a new theory of gravity that fixed a lot of the problems with Newtonian gravity, but scientists are trained to be skeptical. They wanted clear evidence. Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, so is almost always lost in its glare. The proof that light is deflected was gathered years ago today.


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British astronomers did the heavy lifting, traveling to Brazil and Principe to take photos of stars close to the Sun during an eclipse. The photos showed the stars were in the position predicted by Einstein, not Isaac Newton; light beams curve as they pass through space-time curved by a massive object in this case, our sun.


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More proof came when the Hubble Space Telescope went up in the s, with gravitational lensing allowing astronomers to see galaxies behind galaxies. This revision is still proceeding. In particular we do not possess today a fully worked-out general relativistical quantum theory.

What the general theory of relativity doesn't explain

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The tug of gravity

Braunschweig: Vieweg Laue , M. Lichnerowicz , A. Lorentz , H. In another interesting observation, NASA's Kepler telescope spotted a dead star, known as a white dwarf, orbiting a red dwarf in a binary system. Although the white dwarf is more massive, it has a far smaller radius than its companion. Changes in the orbit of Mercury : The orbit of Mercury is shifting very gradually over time, due to the curvature of space-time around the massive sun.

Special and General Relativity

In a few billion years, it could even collide with Earth. Frame-dragging of space-time around rotating bodies : The spin of a heavy object, such as Earth, should twist and distort the space-time around it. The precisely calibrated satellite caused the axes of gyroscopes inside to drift very slightly over time, a result that coincided with Einstein's theory.

What is Relativity? | Live Science

GP-B confirmed two of the most profound predictions of Einstein's universe, having far-reaching implications across astrophysics research. Gravitational redshift : The electromagnetic radiation of an object is stretched out slightly inside a gravitational field. Think of the sound waves that emanate from a siren on an emergency vehicle; as the vehicle moves toward an observer, sound waves are compressed, but as it moves away, they are stretched out, or redshifted.

Known as the Doppler Effect, the same phenomena occurs with waves of light at all frequencies. In , two physicists, Robert Pound and Glen Rebka, shot gamma-rays of radioactive iron up the side of a tower at Harvard University and found them to be minutely less than their natural frequency due to distortions caused by gravity. Gravitational waves : Violent events, such as the collision of two black holes, are thought to be able to create ripples in space-time known as gravitational waves.

It is thought that such waves are embedded in the cosmic microwave background. However, further research revealed that their data was contaminated by dust in the line of sight. LIGO spotted the first confirmed gravitational wave on September 14, The pair of instruments, based out of Louisiana and Washington, had recently been upgraded, and were in the process of being calibrated before they went online.