Astronomers Caught a Star Literally Dragging Time-Space Around With It


One of the prognoses of Albert Einstein‘s theory of relativity is that a spinning body hauls the very weft of time-space in its proximity around with it.

This is dubbed “frame-dragging”. Research divulges evidence of frame-dragging on a much more perceptible scale, utilizing a radio telescope and a distinctive pair of compact stars zipping around each other at stupefying speeds. The crusade of these stars would have baffled astronomers in Newton’s time, as they plainly move in a distorted time-space, and entail Einstein’s overall theory of relativity to explicate their trajectories.

General relativity is the bedrock of contemporary gravitational theory. It details the exact motion of the planets, satellites and stars, and even the stream of time. One of its lesser-noted forecasts is that whirling bodies drag time-space around with them. The speedier an object spins and the more solid it is, the more mighty the drag. One type of artifact for which this is very pertinent is named a white dwarf. These are the remaining cores from deceased stars that were once several times the scale of our Sun but have since depleted their hydrogen fuel.

What stays is analogous in size to Earth though hundreds of thousands of times larger. White dwarfs can too spin very rapidly, revolving every minute or two, instead of every 24 hours like the 3rd-planet-from-the sun does. The frame-dragging triggered by such a white dwarf would be approx 100 million times as potent as Earth’s. That is all swell and nifty, however, it’s impossible to fly to a white dwarf and establish satellites around it. Luckily, nature is nice to astronomers and has its own method of letting astronomers monitor them, via orbiting stars titled pulsars.


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Aaron Granger


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