Called LARES, this tiny — but remarkably heavy — satellite both looks and acts like a disco ball. By bouncing lasers off its reflectors, Italian researchers are hoping to prove Einstein’s conjecture that the Earth warps space-time as it rotates.
One important aspect of general relativity is an effect called rotational-frame dragging, or the Lense-Thirring effect. Einstein said that the rotation of a sufficiently massive object would distort space and time, thus dragging a nearby object out of position (a phenomenon known as precess) in a way that would overrule the much simpler math posited by classical Newtonian physics.
But capturing the effects of rotational-frame dragging has proven exceedingly difficult; the effect is incredibly minute — about one part in a few trillion. The only way to measure it is to look at something massive, like a black hole, or create a super sensitive device and put it into orbit.
More - Link >>> http://io9.com/this-disco-ball-is-the-densest-object-orbiting-the-so-511005516
Source: io9.com .
Want to receive SpaceWatchtower blog posts daily in your inbox ?
Send request to < email@example.com >.
Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://friendsofthezeiss.org >
Electronic Mail - < firstname.lastname@example.org >
About the Editor/Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
Twitter: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/
Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
< http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
< http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
* Public Transit: