Einstein correctly predicted changes in the shape of the orbits of objects orbiting the Earth – this was confirmed by observations of the trajectories of navigation satellites, made by scientists from the University of Life Sciences in Wroclaw and the European Space Agency (ESA).
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The researchers based their conclusions on the results of three years of continuous observations with More than 100 stations located on all continents constantly track about 80 satellites GPS, GLONASS and Galileo systems, according to a report by the Institute of Geodesy and Geographical Information at UPWr.
Earlier, Einstein’s general theory of relativity was proven correct using atomic clocks installed on satellites. However, no one has confirmed – as predicted by the theory of relativity – changes in the size and shape of the satellites’ orbits around the Earth – and this was noted in the press release from UPWr.
The latest research by scientists from this university and the European Space Agency has confirmed The possibility of direct measurement not only of time dilation, but also distorts the geometry of spacetime. Therefore, they also confirmed the changes in the shape of the orbits of the GPS, GLONASS and Galileo navigation satellites, in particular the pair of Galileo satellites that were mistakenly placed in elliptical orbits.
As team leader, Dr. Doctor Hub. Krzysztof Sośnica, a space surveyor, confirmed the general theory of relativity with a very high level of reliability based on the change in the passage of time recorded by atomic clocks. But in addition to changes over time, the theory of relativity predicts slight distortions in the shape and size of the orbits of Earth-orbiting satellites.
Changes in the geometry of spacetime, that is, the orbits of satellitesSo small that until now no one has been able to measure it. Until the latest monitoring results are obtained.
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ESA funded a research project aimed at Confirmation of general relativity. The Galileo, GPS and GLONASS navigation satellites were used for this. Why these satellites? It is constantly tracked by GNSS stations located on all continents. In addition, it transmits signals at several frequencies and integrates laser and microwave technology on board. Scientists from IGiG have developed satellite models that allow ultra-precise orbits to be determined and to predict where satellites will be located in the future.
– Thanks to this, we are able to determine the location of navigation satellites with an accuracy of a few to several millimeters and to predict the location of satellites with an accuracy of several tens of centimeters after a day. It should be remembered that satellites are constantly moving at a speed of several kilometers per second – states Professor K. Sosnica.
add that the first one A pair of operational Galileo satellites were launched into the wrong orbit by a Soyuz launcher: Elliptical instead of circular. The satellites orbit from an altitude of 17,180 km to 26,020 km, instead of a fixed height of 23,225 km.
– The European Space Agency decided to use these satellites for research that was not possible before. It is the study of the effects of general relativity, which – as we already know – It varies depending on the height of the satellite above the earth’s surface – explains the researcher Wroclaw.
Scientists from IGiG began their research by deriving theoretical effects from general relativity. It turns out that, according to the theory, the shape and size of the satellites’ orbits should change, with the changes being even greater for satellites in elliptical orbits.
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The next step was to confirm the correctness of the theoretical predictions using real satellite data. For this purpose, three years of continuous monitoring of the GPS, GLONASS and Galileo satellites, a network of more than 100 permanent GNSS stations located on all continents and about 80 active satellites, were used.
Scientists have treated satellite observations in three types. The first alternative assumes that Newton’s theory of satellite motion is correct and no corrections are required Einstein’s General Relativity.
The second alternative assumed the correctness of the general theory of relativity, taking into account the corrections caused by the movement of the satellite. The third variable assumed that the theory of relativity was correct, but Einstein was wrong about the value of the curvature and nonlinearity of spacetime.
– This variant allows finding GPS, GLONASS and Galileo satellites The optimum value of curvature and nonlinear spacetime. In other words, satellites can move freely, and the only thing that limits them is distance measurements made by ground stations – explains the third assumption of the professor. Sosnica.
– It turns out that even when We will allow satellites to move freely, They confirm the validity of Einstein’s theory. Thus, for the first time, it became possible to prove by observing changes in the size and shape of artificial satellites that spacetime is curved and nonlinear as predicted by Einstein more than 100 years ago, and that curved spacetime alters the motion of the satellites, says the team leader.
despite of Einstein A satellite was never launched, because it died two years before the launch of Sputnik-1, he was the first to describe exactly how they would move. Just take advantage of the latest advancements and precision they offer Navigation systems in the twenty-first century Century scholars are able to conclude that he was right.
More on this in the article in the January 2022 issue of GPS Solutions.
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