Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .


Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















TIME AND SPACE
Mysterious radio signals from space much better test of General Relativity
by Staff Writers
University Park PA (SPX) Dec 31, 2015


illustration only

A new way to test one of the basic principles underlying Einstein's theory of General Relativity using brief blasts of rare radio signals from space called Fast Radio Bursts is ten times, to one-hundred times better than previous testing methods that used gamma-ray bursts, according to a paper just published in the journal Physical Review Letters. 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.

The new method is considered to be a significant tribute to Einstein on the 100th anniversary of his first formulation of the Equivalence Principle, which is a key component of Einstein's theory of General Relativity. More broadly, it also is a key component of the concept that the geometry of spacetime is curved by the mass density of individual galaxies, stars, planets, and other objects.

Fast Radio Bursts are super-brief blasts of energy - lasting just a few milliseconds. Until now, only about a dozen Fast Radio Bursts have been detected on Earth. They appear to be caused by mysterious events beyond our Milky Way Galaxy, and possibly even beyond the Local Group of galaxies that includes the Milky Way. The new technique will be important for analyzing the abundance of observations of Fast Radio Bursts that advanced radio-signal observatories, now being planned, are expected to detect.

"With abundant observational information in the future, we can gain a better understanding of the physical nature of Fast Radio Bursts," said Peter Meszaros, Holder of the Eberly Family Chair in Astronomy and Astrophysics and Professor of Physics at Penn State, the senior author of the research paper. Like all other forms of electromagnetic radiation including visible light, Fast Radio Bursts travel through space as waves of photon particles. The number of wave crests arriving from Fast Radio Bursts per second - their "frequency" - is in the same range as that of radio signals.

"When more-powerful detectors provide us with more observations," Meszaros 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."

The impact of the new method using Fast Radio Bursts is expected to increase significantly as more of the bursts are observed, and if their origin can be established more firmly. "If Fast Radio Bursts are proven to originate outside the Milky Way Galaxy, and if their distances can be measured accurately, they will be a new powerful tool for testing Einstein's Equivalence Principle and for extending the tested energy range down to radio-band frequencies," Meszaros said.

Einstein's Equivalence Principle requires that any two photons of different frequencies, emitted at the same time from the same source and traveling through the same gravitational fields, should arrive at Earth at exactly the same time.

"If Einstein's Equivalence Principle is correct, any time delay that might occur between these two photons should not be due to the gravitational fields they experienced during their travels, but should be due only to other physical effects," Meszaros said. "By measuring how closely in time the two different-frequency photons arrive, we can test how closely they obey Einstein's Equivalence Principle."

More specifically, Meszaros said the test that he and his coauthors developed involves an analysis of how much space curvature the photons experienced due to massive objects along or near their path through space. He said, "Our test of Einstein's Equivalence Principle using Fast Radio Bursts consists of checking by how much does a parameter - the gamma parameter - differ for the two photons with different frequencies."

Meszaros said his research team's analysis of the less-than-a-dozen recently detected Fast Radio Bursts "supersedes by one to two orders of magnitude the previous best limits on the accuracy of the Einstein Equivalence Principle," which were based on gamma rays and other energies from a 1987 supernova explosion, supernova 1987A. "Our analysis using radio frequencies shows that the Einstein Equivalence Principle is obeyed to one part in a hundred million," Meszaros said.

"This result is a significant tribute to Einstein's theory, on the hundredth anniversary of its first formulation."

In addition to Meszaros, other authors of the paper include Jun-Jie Wei, a graduate student at the Purple Mountain Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; and two scientists who received their postdoctoral training with Meszaros at Penn State and who now hold academic and research positions in China, He Gao and Xue-Feng Wu, who is the paper's corresponding author.

This research is supported, in part, by the National Basic Research Program of China (2014CB845800 and 2013CB834900); NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States (NNX 13AH50G), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (11322328 and 11433009), and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (2011231 and XDB09000000).

Abstract

.


Related Links
Science at PSU
Understanding Time and Space






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
TIME AND SPACE
New study asks: Why didn't the universe collapse?
Copenhagen, Denmark (UPI) Dec 23, 2015
The models that best describe the Big Bang and birth of the universe have one glaring problem. Most of them predict a collapse almost immediately after inflation. There was nothing, then there was something. And then there was nothing again. As we know from living and breathing and looking up at a sky action-packed with cosmic activity, there's definitely something more than noth ... read more


TIME AND SPACE
Russia Postpones Plans on Extensive Moon Exploration Until 2025

Rare full moon on Christmas Day

LADEE Mission Shows Force of Meteoroid Strikes on Lunar Exosphere

XPRIZE verifies moon express launch contract, kicking off new space race

TIME AND SPACE
NASA suspends March launch of InSight mission to Mars

Boulders on a Martian Landslide

University researchers test prototype spacesuits at Kennedy

Marshall: Advancing the technology for NASA's Journey to Mars

TIME AND SPACE
Astronauts Tour Future White Room, Crew Access Tower

15 in '15: NASA's Commercial Crew Program Moves Closer to Flight

ISRO's year in review 2015

Celebrity chefs create gourmet delights for astronauts

TIME AND SPACE
Chinese rover analyzes moon rocks: First new 'ground truth' in 40 years

Agreement with Chinese Space Tech Lab Will Advance Exploration Goals

China launches new communication satellite

China's indigenous SatNav performing well after tests

TIME AND SPACE
Space Station Receives New Space Tool to Help Locate Ammonia Leaks

NASA Delivers New Video Experience On ISS

British astronaut dials wrong number on Xmas call from space

Two whacks is all it takes for spacewalk repair

TIME AND SPACE
45th Space Wing launches ORBCOMM; historically lands first stage booster

SpaceX rocket landing opens 'new door' to space travel

NASA orders second Boeing Crew Mission to ISS

ESA and Arianespace ink James Webb Space Telescope launch contract

TIME AND SPACE
Nearby star hosts closest alien planet in the 'habitable zone'

ALMA reveals planetary construction sites

Monster planet is 'dancing with the stars'

Exoplanets Water Mystery Solved

TIME AND SPACE
Port of call at 36,000 KM for in-orbit servicing

Nature's masonry: The first steps in how thin protein sheets form polyhedral shells

Move aside carbon: Boron nitride-reinforced materials are even stronger

Super strong, lightweight metal could build tomorrow's spacecraft




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News








The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.