Star Is Seen Dragging Space-Time With It
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Rack up another one for Albert Einstein. New research on a pair of stars confirms a prediction from Einstein’s general theory of relativity—that a spinning object will drag space-time right along with it, Science Alert reports. Astrophysicists have spotted the effect, known as “frame dragging,” in a white dwarf and a pulsar orbiting each other a few hundred quadrillion miles away. Radio telescopes in Australia revealed that the plane of the pulsar’s orbit was slowly shifting (something like a wobbling top) around its interstellar companion; that’s because the white dwarf is spinning so fast, it pulls on the very fabric of space-time and causes the pulsar’s orbit to alter its orientation.

For one thing, this gives scientists insight into the stars—an older white dwarf (or highly dense core of a dead star) and the other a pulsar (or fast-spinning neutron star that died in a supernova), per Space.com. It’s also our best evidence of frame-dragging, in which objects with energy bunch and bend space-time as it absorbs that energy. We knew objects alter space-time like orbs placed on a sheet of rubber; now there’s fresh evidence of an object moving space-time “like dragging water along your body as you spin in a pool,” says Gizmodo. Popular Mechanics says this “could explain a lot of things we don’t understand yet about relativity, gravity itself, and forces that affect everything from celestial objects to subatomic particles.” (Read more astronomy stories.)

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