A Modern Day Eddington Experiment

During the total solar eclipse in 1919, Sir Arthur Eddington mounted an expedition that confirmed the gravitational lensing prediction made by Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. Einstein’s calculations predicted that the apparent positions of stars near the Sun would shift by a distance that was two times larger than that calculated using Newtonian gravity. The success of Einstein’s new theory launched him into international prominence, dramatically changing the scientific paradigm describing space and time. During the 2017 Great American Eclipse, citizen scientists will have the opportunity to use modern equipment to repeat this historical experiment.   

NASA’s Universe of Learning has worked with experts in using affordable astronomical instrumentation to provide resources and suggested equipment that may allow you to improve on Eddington’s historic experiment. Much has changed in almost 100 years and the many advances in astronomy equipment mean that amateur astronomers can now do the same science more easily and cheaply than what once required a costly, a massive international expedition.  

You can find out more on this remarkable project, including information on suggested equipment and data analysis, on their official website:  http://epo.sonoma.edu/projects-2/nasas-universe-of-learning/solar-eclipse-2017 , or contact Rachel Freed directly at rachel@universe.sonoma.edu

Last Updated: June 22, 2017
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