Charlottesville Man Discovers Speed of Gravity

In what qualifies as Very Very Big News in the science world, Charlottesville astronomer Ed Fomalont (who works with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, which headquartered in Charlottesville) has confirmed Einstein’s theory of relativity by demonstrating that the speed of gravity is roughly the same as the speed of light. In September, Fomalont monitored the light from a quasar as it was eclipsed by Jupter. If the speed of gravity were infinite, as some thought that it might be (notably Newton), the quasar would have appeared as a circle; if gravity were finite, the quasar would have appeared distorted. Fomalont worked with University of Missouri’s Sergei Kopeikin on the project. Kate Andrews has the story in today’s Progress, though a more detailed article can be read in New Scientist.

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