Einstein’s Theory Of Gravity Proved Correct Outside Our Solar System

Posted: Jun 24 2018, 9:35am CDT | by , in Latest Science News


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Einstein’s Theory of Gravity Proved Correct Outside our Solar System
The gravitational lens from LRG 3-757 galaxy taken with the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA.

New observations reveal that gravity in a nearby galaxy behaves exactly as predicted by Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity

For the first time, astronomers have made the most precise test of gravity in another galaxy and the results showed that gravity in this galaxy behaves exactly as predicted by Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, confirming the validity of theory on galactic scales.

Gravity is a force of attraction that exists everywhere in the universe. But scientists are still unable to explain its nature. The current best theory regarding gravity is Einstein's general theory of relativity. The general theory of relativity has passed many observational tests over the years but it has not yet been precision-tested on large astronomical scales.

In 1917 Einstein applied his theory of general relativity in the universe and suggested that universe is static. It was not until 1931 that he accepted the model of an expanding universe. In 1998 astronomers showed that the Universe is not only expanding but also growing faster now than it was in the past. However, this interpretation has one major problem: it cannot be explained unless the universe is mostly made of an exotic component called dark energy. Dark energy, which drives the accelerating expansion of the universe, is one of the biggest mysteries in physics and relies on general relativity for being the correct theory of gravity on cosmological scales.

To test the theory on large scale, researchers used a nearby galaxy as a gravitational lens. The galaxy, named ESO325-G004, is located at 500 million light years from Earth. The proximity makes this galaxy an ideal object to precisely measure its mass and to accurately test General Relativity.

"General Relativity predicts that massive objects deform space-time, this means that when light passes near another galaxy the light's path is deflected. If two galaxies are aligned along our line of sight this can give rise to a phenomenon, called strong gravitational lensing, where we see multiple images of the background galaxy. If we know the mass of the foreground galaxy, then the amount of separation between the multiple images tells us if General Relativity is the correct theory of gravity on galactic scales." Lead researcher Dr. Thomas Collett from the University of Portsmouth said.

By combining data taken with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, researchers concluded that the gravity in the galaxy works according to the Albert Einstein's theory.

“We used data from the Very Large Telescope in Chile to measure how fast the stars were moving in E325 – this let us infer how much mass there must be in E325 to hold these stars in orbit,” explained Dr. Collett. “We then compared this mass to the strong lensing image separations that we observed with the Hubble Space Telescope and the result was just what GR predicts with 9 percent precision. This is the most precise extrasolar test of GR to date, from just one galaxy.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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