EPJ Plus Highlight - Proving Einstein right using the most sensitive Earth rotation sensors ever made

Physicists have now found a way to measure Earth's rotation in an extremely accurate way. (Photo Fotolia, ID #60274978 by Denis Tabler)

A new study use the most precise inertial sensor available to date to measure whether Earth partially drags inertial frames along with its rotation

Einstein’s theory of gravity, also referred to as General Relativity, predicts that a rotating body such as the Earth partially drags inertial frames along with its rotation. In a study recently published in EPJ Plus, a group of scientists based in Italy suggests a novel approach to measuring what is referred to as frame dragging. Angela Di Virgilio of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics, INFN, in Pisa, Italy, and her colleagues propose using the most sensitive type of inertial sensors, which incorporate ring lasers as gyroscopes, to measure the absolute rotation rate of the Earth.

The experiment aims to measure the absolute rotation with respect to the local inertial frame, which is what is referred to as frame dragging. In principle, the ring laser should show one rotation around the Earth's axis every 24 hours. However, should observation by reference to fixed stars in the sky show a slightly different rate of rotation, the difference can be attributed to frame dragging.

The authors’ proposed experiment, called GINGER, requires two ring lasers to provide a reference measurement. It suggests comparing experimental GINGER data with the kinetic Earth rotation rate independently measured by the International Earth Rotation System Service (IERS). According to the authors, their proposed solution can accurately test the frame dragging effect at 1%.

This is a vast improvement compared to previous experiments, such as the 2011 Stanford Gyroscope Experiment, Gravity Probe B (GPB), which agreed with General Relativity's prediction for the frame dragging with an estimated 19% margin of error. Or the 2016 measurement of the dragging of the plane of an orbiting satellite, using laser ranged satellites like the satellite LARES, which boasted a 5% margin of error. The authors expect that, ultimately, the satellite-based approach could even deliver accuracy below the 1% error measurement threshold.

A. D. V. Di Virgilio, J. Belfi, and W.-T. Ni (2017), GINGER: a feasibility study, Eur. Phys. J. Plus 132:157, DOI 10.1140/epjp/i2017-11452-6

This was our first experience of publishing with EPJ Web of Conferences. We contacted the publisher in the middle of September, just one month prior to the Conference, but everything went through smoothly. We have had published MNPS Proceedings with different publishers in the past, and would like to tell that the EPJ Web of Conferences team was probably the best, very quick, helpful and interactive. Typically, we were getting responses from EPJ Web of Conferences team within less than an hour and have had help at every production stage.
We are very thankful to Solange Guenot, Web of Conferences Publishing Editor, and Isabelle Houlbert, Web of Conferences Production Editor, for their support. These ladies are top-level professionals, who made a great contribution to the success of this issue. We are fully satisfied with the publication of the Conference Proceedings and are looking forward to further cooperation. The publication was very fast, easy and of high quality. My colleagues and I strongly recommend EPJ Web of Conferences to anyone, who is interested in quick high-quality publication of conference proceedings.

On behalf of the Organizing and Program Committees and Editorial Team of MNPS-2019, Dr. Alexey B. Nadykto, Moscow State Technological University “STANKIN”, Moscow, Russia. EPJ Web of Conferences vol. 224 (2019)

ISSN: 2100-014X (Electronic Edition)

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