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Probing the Secrets of Gravity

22 Jan 2020, 12:00 UTC
Probing the Secrets of Gravity
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Title: Testing gravity with interstellar precursor missions Authors: Indranil Banik and Pavel Kroupa First Author’s Institution: Helmholtz-Institut für Strahlen und Kernphysik (HISKP), University of Bonn, Germany Status: Published in MNRAS (open access on ArXiV) Humans have long dreamed of conquering the stars. Yet, even with the best of today’s technological capabilities, such an endeavour could take centuries. Since Newton’s incident with an apple, his theories of motion and universal gravitation have remained largely accepted save Einstein’s 1915 overhaul. Still, there remains observations that Newtonian dynamics cannot fully describe. One such observation is that of a galaxy’s rotation curve. We would expect a galaxy to rotate more slowly the further we move away from its center. It turns out that the rotation remains the same, and in some cases increases. The common solution to this problem is to invoke dark matter. This invisible matter accounts for the “missing mass” that enables galaxies to spin more than they otherwise should. MOdified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND) is an alternative theory of gravity that also attempts to account for these rotation curves. Instead of invoking dark matter, MOND alters the gravitational acceleration. This paper shows how this modified acceleration can alter the trajectory of interstellar ...

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