The Precession of Mercury’s Orbit, an Evidence for General Relativity

Rira Nurmaida

High Energy Physics and Instrumentation Division, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences,

Institut Teknologi Bandung, Jalan Ganesa 10, Bandung 40132, Indonesia

e-mail: riranurmaida@yahoo.de

Abstract

The precession of Mercury’s orbit was once computed by the method of perturbations, the method that predicted the elliptical orbit should shift or precess some fraction of a degree per century. The value for Mercury based on the calculation is 532” per century, though the observation confirmed the precession is about 575” per century. The additional 43” per century is quite puzzling, until Einstein proposed the General Relativity which provide the answer. Next in the following we will use the general relativity to recalculate the precession, and give the correction to the former calculation.

Keywords: precession of mercury’s orbit, general relativity, Schwarzschild metric

Introduction

After Newton’s success in describing the motion of the planet and explaining Kepler’s elliptical planetary orbit through solar gravitational and calculus, his successors computed the deviations caused by other planets. Unlike the Keplerian ellipse of the Newtonian gravitational theory, the orbit does not close. Rather the angular position of the closest approach advance slightly on each return by an angle called the precession of the perihelion for a planet around the Sun. In other words, it was found a precession of the perihelion of the orbit that is the angle between two positions of closest approach at the inner turning radius of the orbit.[1]

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3 thoughts on “The Precession of Mercury’s Orbit, an Evidence for General Relativity

  1. Wow, ditunggu lanjutannya..!

    Pernah baca bukunya Mr. Hawking, A Brief History of Time? Bagaimana hubungan antara teori Relativitas Umum (General Relativity) dengan Mekanika Kuantum — Quantum Mechanics?

  2. udah selesai sebenarnya, tapi blm smpat urusin persamaan2nya buat ditampilkan di sini, slnya kuketik pk word processor biasa, ga pake latex, cukup berantakan di file aslinya…

  3. scr sederhana, mekanika kuantum dan relativitas umum digunakan untuk mengatasi kelemahan Newtonian dalam kasus-kasus yg skala kecil/atomik dan skala besar/ antargalaksi/alam semesta pada umumnya…

    pada skala atomik, Newtonian yang deterministik, tak lagi sesuai dengan observasi, karena pada skala kuantum ada banyak peluang lintasan, artinya ada probabilitas yang bekerja di sini ( gak mesti diskrit, dalam kondisi tertentu bisa juga kontinu, jadi kuantum tidak juga identik dg diskrit/ terbagi dalam kuanta-kuanta energi). sementara untuk skala sangat besar, prediksi newton juga kurang pas, contoh dalam kasus merkurius ini. Penyebabnya adalah Newtonian berdasarkan pada asumsi Euclid. Alam semesta itu datar, padahal ternyata alam semesta melengkung…??

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