Arquivo para October 11th, 2023

Eclipse, the Theory of Relativity and town Sobral

11 Oct

In addition to mystical and historical factors, the eclipse helped the development of both physics and astronomy, there is a curious relationship between an eclipse, the Theory of Relativity and the Brazilian city in the State of Ceará: Sobral.

On May 29, 1919, the sky over the city of Sobral, a city in the interior of State Ceará, Brazil, dawned cloudy (photo taken by the National Observatory in 1919) and the effort of the delegation of astronomers who went there to observe the eclipse and prove their ideas Albert Einstein’s revolutionary ideas would be in vain.

Fortunately, at nine o’clock in the morning a space opened between the clouds and it was possible to make the desired observations.

Einstein’s ideas were that there would be a distortion in the space-time dimensions and that this would be linked to the proximity of massive bodies, stated as follows:

“The trajectory of light can be distorted if there is a massive body distorting space-time in its trajectory, so it appears that the source that emitted that light is in a different position.”

With sensitive equipment, it was possible to make this comparison in the positions during the eclipse and after it, which occurred in May 1919. In December, after months of studying the observations, it was announced that Einstein’s theory was correct, and this is a fact which made the theory of absolute space and time obsolete.

The observation took place thanks to intense collaboration between Brazil and England, including the famous English astronomer Arthur Eddington, from the Royal Astronomical Society and the Brazilian Henrique Morize, then director of the National Observatory (ON), and Sobral was chosen because it had better visibility. of the eclipse.

One hundred years after the event, in 2019 the Brazil-United Kingdom partnership in Science and Innovation was celebrated, Brazilian physicist Anelise Pacheco, director of MAST  (Brazilian Astronomical and Sciences Related Museum) declared at the time: “Without cooperation, there is no science”, this also applies to the days of today.