An international team of scientists succeeded in recording the most precise confirmation of Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
The new study claims that the theory holds for completely self-gravitational objects such as neutron stars. Here is what you need to know.
Einstein’s Theory of Relativity in the Spotlight Again
The international team of scientists utilized a radio telescope and observed the signal generated by pulsars (a type of neutron star) and check the validity of Einstein’s theory of gravity. They examined the signals from a pulsar dubbed PSR J0337+1715 detected by the large radio telescope of Nancay (France). The observations of PSR J0337+1715 indicates that it orbits two white-dwarf stars that possess a weaker gravity field.
The pulsar orbits the two white-dwarf stars, one of which circles the pulsar is 1.6 days and at a length of 10 times closer to the pulsar than the planet Mercury is from the Sun. Such a thing represent a binary system, similar to Earth and Moon in the Solar System, that orbits with a third star, a white dwarf of only 40 % the mass of the Sun, situated slightly further than the length dividing the Earth-Moon system from the Sun.
The recently examined pulsar experiment fills the gap left by the Solar System tests where no object is entirely self-gravitating, not even the Sun. The team has proved that the extreme gravitational field of the pulsar can’t vary more than 1.8 part/million from the prediction of general relativity.
The result is considered now the most precise confirmation that the universality of free fall is efficient even in the presence of an object in which mass is mainly due to its gravity field, supporting further Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
“Two bodies of different compositions fall with the same acceleration in the gravitational field of a third one,” explained Dr. Guillaume Voisin from the University of Manchester.