X

Star Is Seen Dragging Space-Time With It

Looks like Albert Einstein nailed this one
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2020 3:30 PM CST

(Newser) – Rack up another one for Albert Einstein. New research on a pair of stars confirms a prediction from Einstein's general theory of relativity—that a spinning object will drag space-time right along with it, Science Alert reports. Astrophysicists have spotted the effect, known as "frame dragging," in a white dwarf and a pulsar orbiting each other a few hundred quadrillion miles away. Radio telescopes in Australia revealed that the plane of the pulsar's orbit was slowly shifting (something like a wobbling top) around its interstellar companion; that's because the white dwarf is spinning so fast, it pulls on the very fabric of space-time and causes the pulsar's orbit to alter its orientation.

For one thing, this gives scientists insight into the stars—an older white dwarf (or highly dense core of a dead star) and the other a pulsar (or fast-spinning neutron star that died in a supernova), per Space.com. It's also our best evidence of frame-dragging, in which objects with energy bunch and bend space-time as it absorbs that energy. We knew objects alter space-time like orbs placed on a sheet of rubber; now there's fresh evidence of an object moving space-time "like dragging water along your body as you spin in a pool," says Gizmodo. Popular Mechanics says this "could explain a lot of things we don't understand yet about relativity, gravity itself, and forces that affect everything from celestial objects to subatomic particles." (Read more astronomy stories.)

My Take on This Story
Show results  |  
3%
59%
1%
28%
2%
7%