Arecibo Observatory proves that Einstein was right (again)
Data collected from the William E. Gordon Telescope at the Arecibo Observatory helped researchers confirm the strong equivalence principle of general relativity for heavy objects. An essential concept in Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, the equivalence principle, proposed that all objects accelerate identically in an external gravitational field. Prior to the results by Archibald, et al. published in Nature, tests of the theory with bodies that exhibit extreme self-gravity were limited. However, a system of three stellar remnants consisting of a white dwarf orbiting a pulsar (a neutron star), which is then orbited by another white dwarf provided the appropriate conditions to observe differences in acceleration. Researchers leveraged the features that the two orbits are roughly circular and in-plane with each other to observe if deformation of the inner orbit occurred due to differences in acceleration. With data collected over 6 years, the researchers did not detect such a deformation and measured only very small differences in the accelerations of the two bodies, passing the strong-field test of general relativity. Read more about this research at UCFToday.