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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Neutrino's Saga - Part 5

Light speed
It seems interesting how the scientific community try to explain the results of the OPERA experiment. See here, here, and here.

Here are the last results:

"But were the clocks perfectly synchronized?
Keeping time is again the domain of the GPS satellites which each broadcasting a highly accurate time signal from orbit some 20,000km overhead. But is it possible the team overlooked the amount of time it took for the satellite signals to return to Earth? In his statement, van Elburg says there is one effect that the OPERA team seems to have overlooked: the relativistic motion of the GPS clocks.
Sure, radio waves travel at the speed of light, so what difference does the satellite position make? The truth is, it doesn’t.. but the time of flight does. Here we have a scenario where one clock is on the ground while the other is orbiting. If they are moving relative to one another, this calculation needs to be included in the findings. The orbiting probes are positioned from West to East in a plane inclined at 55 degrees to the equator… almost directly in line with the neutrino flight path. This means the clock on the GPS is seeing the neutrino source and detector as changing."

"But there is an additional subtlety. Although the speed of light is does not depend on the the frame of reference, the time of flight does. In this case, there are two frames of reference: the experiment on the ground and the clocks in orbit. If these are moving relative to each other, then this needs to be factored in."

"Hughes and Wilczek both guess that scientists will most likely approach the neutrino announcement with a variety of new experiments and do tests with different baselines.
“I would say there’s a 98 percent chance this is a systematic error,” Hughes said."

The recent news of neutrinos moving faster than light might have got everyone thinking about warp drive and all that, but really there is no need to imagine something that can move faster than 300,000 kilometres a second. Indeed, the whole idea is illogical.

( -- A simple atomic nucleus could reveal properties associated with the mysterious phenomenon known as time reversal and lead to an explanation for one of the greatest mysteries of physics: the imbalance of matter and antimatter in the universe.
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