Einstein's theory survives galactic test | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

11 December, Tuesday


Einstein's theory survives galactic test

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A new experiment attempting to dispel the theory of general relativity shows how solid the hundred-plus-year old idea is, according to new research in the journalScience.

Since Einstein first came up with his famous equation scientists have tried to apply it to all parts of the universe.

In the new study, researchers from the University of Portsmouth broke away from tradition and flipped a number of typical experiments on their head. Rather than determining an object's mass by looking at how much it bends the fabric of space, they used one with an already-calculated mass to see if it matched predictions of general relativity.

The theory held up marvelously.

For the experiment, researchers calculated the mass of a galaxy known as ESO 325-G004 by measuring how its stars moved. They then calculated the curvature of the so-called "Einstein ring" surrounding the galaxy to determine how much it deformed the space around it. Predictions stated that the mass' curving effect -- also known as gamma -- should be equal to one.

That matched up almost perfectly with real measurements, showing the dependability of Einstein's theory.

"This proved that the way mass warps space-time is exactly correct," lead author Thomas Collett, a researcher at the University of Portsmouth, told Gizmodo. "That's the fundamental property of general relativityhow space-time behaves."

Though it may seem pointless to continuously test Einstein's most famous theory, such experiments could one day give more insight into the ever expanding universe and help scientists understand a mysterious force known as dark energy. 

"Our result validates GR on scales up to 6000 light years," said Collett, according to Newsweek. "The expansion of the Universe is speeding up. Assuming GR is correct, we interpret this as evidence for a mysterious dark energy that is driving this acceleration."

The team plans to continue to put the theory to the test and see what else it could show them about the universe in the future.

Space Reporter

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