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Test of General Relativity and Measurement of the Lense-Thirring Effect with Two Earth Satellites

Ignazio Ciufolini, Erricos Pavlis, Federico Chieppa, Eduardo Fernandes-Vieira and Juan Pérez-Mercader
Science
New Series, Vol. 279, No. 5359 (Mar. 27, 1998), pp. 2100-2103
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2896272
Page Count: 4
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Test of General Relativity and Measurement of the Lense-Thirring Effect with Two Earth Satellites
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Abstract

The Lense-Thirring effect, a tiny perturbation of the orbit of a particle caused by the spin of the attracting body, was accurately measured with the use of the data of two laser-ranged satellites, LAGEOS and LAGEOS II, and the Earth gravitational model EGM-96. The parameter μ, which measures the strength of the Lense-Thirring effect, was found to be 1.1 ± 0.2; general relativity predicts μ ≡ 1. This result represents an accurate test and measurement of one of the fundamental predictions of general relativity, that the spin of a body changes the geometry of the universe by generating space-time curvature.

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