Wednesday, August 16, 2023

"A New Study Appears to Stunningly Contradict Newton and Einstein's Theory of Gravity"

Grab hold of something.

From Popular Mechanics, August 14:

Our understanding of the universe may be completely wrong.

[in other news...just kidding]

  • Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, an immensely important update to Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation, is currently our best approximation of how the universe ticks.
  • But there are some holes in Einstein's theory, including some gravitational weirdness around low acceleration “wide binary” stars.
  • A new study claims that the behavior of these slow-moving celestial objects can’t be explained by a Newton-Einstein theory, which relies on dark matter, but could be explained with an idea known as Modified Newtonian Dynamics, or MOND.

In 1687, English physicist Isaac Newton published his famous Law of Universal Gravitation. The idea that all objects attract in proportion to their mass was a revolutionary idea that became a huge boon for understanding the ways of the universe. But even Newton’s influential work had its limitations—specifically, it couldn’t explain gravitational phenomena such as black holes and gravitational waves. Thankfully, Albert Einstein came around in the early 20th century to help patch things up a bit with his Theory of General Relativity.

But space is a big place, and even Einsteins sometimes meet their limit. One of the most well-known of these limits is a black hole’s center, or singularity, where Einstein’s famous theory appears to break down completely. Now, a new study from scientists at South Korea’s Sejong University suggests that another limit to Newton and Einstein’s conception of gravity can be found in the orbital motions of long-period, widely separated, binary stars—also known simply as “wide binaries.”....[insert pronoun punchline here. jk]