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The eclipse that proved Einstein’s “theory of relativity.”

The eclipse that proved Einstein’s “theory of relativity.”

Today, more than a hundred years ago, a solar eclipse provided definitive proof of Einstein’s most famous work: the theory of relativity.

the patience And the perseverance They are two virtues that all great scientific minds should possess. Albert Einstein He certainly wasn’t lacking for anything. This is the story of how, after nearly a decade of ridicule and disbelief, it was possible to prove Theory of relativity.

What is relativity?

the Theory of relativity It is a very powerful set of hypotheses that seek to determine the relationship between things with mathematical precision The four most basic elements Universe: time, space, Mass And energy.

Public domain

Technically “theory of relativity” It is not a theory in itself. . In fact, it is a general name that includes two closely related theories: General relativity And the Special relativity.

We propose: Einstein’s theory is challenged by the growth of cosmological structures

These theories unite these four concepts into only two concepts. Space-time (described in general relativity) and the mass-energy equation, He described it with the famous equation E=mc².

General relativity defines spacetime as a “cloth.” this It can deform in the presence of a very massive objectattracting other objects of equal or even mass In the same light.

Bending of light rays in a gravitational lens. Credit: NASA

Eddington experiment

In Earth’s celestial dome, we have many objects of enormous mass. However, few of them change their apparent location with the same convenient speed sun, So it was necessary Look at a star whose location in the sky is like the location of the East.

In the traditional scenario, this is impossible, because it means conducting monitoring during the day. But there is a specific scenario in which the stars and the sun appear in daylight: A Solar eclipse.

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During a solar eclipse May 29, 1919Two groups of British researchers have placed monitoring equipment in very remote places: Sobral in Brazil, and the island of Principe in Africa.

Astronomical equipment in Brazil during the eclipse. Public domain.

From these places, they were able to measure the deviation in the celestial coordinates of stars whose light had to pass close to the Sun to reach Earth. This displacement It coincided exactly with what general relativity predicted From Einstein and got it Arthur Eddington And his colleague Frank Watson Dyson Respect and acceptance of the Royal Society.

And point to EinsteinThe results gained him unanimous acceptance from the scientific community, making his theories and experiments relevant today.

This text was written by Isai Vilches, a mechatronics engineer who specializes in research methodology and scientific writing.

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