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ROÇA SUNDY AND EINSTEIN'S THEORY OF RELATIVITY | by André Pipa
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ROÇA SUNDY AND EINSTEIN'S THEORY OF RELATIVITY

This is the place – a plantation (roça) in the Island of Príncipe - where Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, a famous British astrophysicist of the early 20th century, confirmed Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Eddington travelled to Príncipe to watch the solar eclipse of 29 May 1919 and stayed in the main house of roça Sundy. During the eclipse, he took pictures of the stars in the region around the Sun. According to the theory of general relativity, stars with light rays that passed near the Sun would appear to have been slightly shifted because their light had been curved by its gravitational field. This effect is noticeable only during eclipses, since otherwise the Sun's brightness obscures the affected stars. Eddington showed that Newtonian gravitation could be interpreted to predict half the shift predicted by Einstein.

 

Eddington's observations published the next year confirmed Einstein's theory, and were hailed at the time as a conclusive proof of general relativity over the Newtonian model. The news was reported in newspapers all over the world as a major story. I visited the spot where good old Arthur took his crucial photos and I felt, jzzzz: History was made there

 

[ Let me tell you Roça Sundy was bought recently by Mark Shuttleworth, the South African billionaire entrepeneur who gained worldwide fame as the second self-funded space tourist and the first-ever African in space. Flying through Space Adventures, he launched aboard the Russian Soyuz TM-34 mission as a spaceflight participant, paying approximately US$ 20 million for the voyage ]

  

To my good friend Pete Foley, because I know he will love this place

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Taken on May 2, 2012