17. Abhijit Biswas, Krishnan R. S. Mani, Space experiment proposed for theories of relativistic gravitation

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Volume 22: Pages 355-358, 2009

Space experiment proposed for theories of relativistic gravitation

Abhijit Biswas 1, Krishnan R. S. Mani 1

1Department of Physics, Godopy Center for Scientific Research, Calcutta 700 008, India

The speed of light c was first proven to be finite by Ole Römer in 1676. In the post-Maxwellian era, sensing the tide of discoveries in electromagnetism, Einstein replaced Newton’s three absolutes—mass, time, and space, with c, which thus gained an important status among the fundamental constants of nature. Many Earth bound experiments after the first one by Fizeau in 1849 were conducted for determination of c until 1983, when it was frozen at a fixed value after determining it at an accuracy level of a fraction of 1 m/s. Half a century before space age, Einstein had to adopt its terrestrial value to be the limiting speed of all natural phenomena. Einstein later stated that light rays could curve only when c varied with position. Many experiments have been conducted to prove light deflection, but none so far for direct determination of the truly local value of c at locations closer to the sun. To verify the important aspects of relativity theories, NASA or experimental physicists belonging to some major research organizations had commendably planned many costly experiments, and hence, they can now be expected to expeditiously plan and execute the experiment proposed here, so as to verify the effect of solar gravitational field on c, which will perhaps be regarded in the future as one of the low cost space experiments conducted for general relativity theory.

Keywords: Speed of Light, Relativity Theory, Special Relativity, General Relativity, Space Experiment, Coordinate Speed of Light

Received: April 9, 2009; Accepted: June 23, 2009; Published Online: August 27, 2009