Mysterious Radio Signals From Space To Test Of Einstein's Theory

Posted: Jan 2 2016, 1:38pm CST | by , Updated: Jan 2 2016, 1:41pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

Mysterious Radio Signals From Space to Test of Einstein's Theory
This illustration shows how two photons, one at a high frequency (nu_h) and another at a low frequency (nu_l), travel in curved space-time from their origin in a distant Fast Radio Burst (FRB) source until reaching the Earth. A lower-limit estimate of the gravitational pull that the photons experience along their way is given by the mass in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. Credit: Purple Mountain Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Weird Radio Signals from Beyond are a Touchstone of Einstein’s Theory

It has been said that weird radio signals from beyond are a touchstone of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity.

A novel method of testing Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity may just have arrived. This consists of gauging mysterious radio signals coming from deep space. They are termed fast radio bursts.

This methodology is ten to a hundred times better than other means of testing the 20th century’s greatest physicist’s theories. Previous methods used bursts of gamma rays and they were not as reliable.

The study was published in the journal Physical Review Letters and it got a lot of attention as a surprising find in modern physics. The paper received additional highlighting as an "Editor's Suggestion" due to "its particular importance, innovation, and broad appeal," according to the journal's editors.

It is in fact a tribute to Albert Einstein on the 100th anniversary of the Equivalence Principle. This is a vital component of the General Theory of Relativity which Einstein brainstormed from his super-creative mind.

The geometry of the space-time continuum is distorted and warped in accordance with the mass of stars, galaxies and planets not to mention other massive objects in the universe.

This is also the basic concept behind black holes. Fast radio bursts are a few milliseconds in duration. That is why they are rare and only a dozen have been detected on earth.

These radio bursts come from mysterious entities in space. The origin of these radio bursts probably lies beyond our own Milky Way. Even those galaxies which are close by are not the source of these radio bursts.

A novel technique is to be employed to find out more about these mysterious signals. The vast observational data will come in handy and so will radio telescopic techniques. Like other photonic phenomena on the full electromagnetic spectrum, fast radio bursts often travel through space in wave form.

"With abundant observational information in the future, we can gain a better understanding of the physical nature of Fast Radio Bursts," said Peter Mészáros, Holder of the Eberly Family Chair in Astronomy and Astrophysics and Professor of Physics at Penn State, the senior author of the research paper.

"When more-powerful detectors provide us with more observations," Mészáros said, "we also will be able to use Fast Radio Bursts as a probe of their host galaxies, of the space between galaxies, of the cosmic-web structure of the universe, and as a test of fundamental physics."

When more observation turns up extensive evidence regarding fast radio bursts, we will have a more complete picture of the universe we inhabit. Einstein’s theories will be better tested via this methodology.

Einstein said that two photons through space should arrive on earth at one and the same time. This is precisely what will get tested accurately sometime in the future.

They may have different frequencies but their ETA (estimated time of arrival) will be the same no matter what. The gamma ray parameters test is old hat.

New wine cannot be put into old bottles. As our knowledge of the universe increases with time, maybe Einstein’s theories will be surpassed like those of his predecessor, Isaac Newton.

"Our analysis using radio frequencies shows that the Einstein Equivalence Principle is obeyed to one part in a hundred million," Mészáros said. "This result is a significant tribute to Einstein's theory, on the hundredth anniversary of its first formulation."

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