What measurements and observations of the Hulse-Taylor Pulsar agreed precisely with the predictions of general relativity, and how did these measurements support the theory?


One of the predictions of general relativity is that certain objects can give off energy in the form of gravitational radiation. This means that over time, the orbits of the two neutron stars should decay, and they should come closer to each other. Using relativistic formulae, it is possible to predict the changes in the orbits and the energy of the emitted gravitational waves; analysis of the system showed that general relativity's predictions were correct.

Studying gravitational waves requires linearizing the Einstein field equations. However, these can be reduced to certain simpler formulae when it comes to detecting waves from a binary system, as was the case with the Hulse-Taylor binary.

  • $\begingroup$ The Davis paper reports "an ongoing controversy as to the correct radiation rate predicted by general relativity". $\endgroup$ – steveOw Nov 12 '14 at 20:04
  • $\begingroup$ @steveOw Can you remind me where that is? It's been a while since I read through that paper. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Nov 12 '14 at 22:27
  • $\begingroup$ davis-inc.com/relativity/grav-rad1.pdf as linked in your question above :) $\endgroup$ – steveOw Nov 13 '14 at 1:10
  • $\begingroup$ @steveOw Oh, you misunderstood me. I meant where in the paper. :-) $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Nov 13 '14 at 1:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Aha...Page 6 paragraph 1. $\endgroup$ – steveOw Nov 13 '14 at 1:20

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