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Gravity Probe B

Testing Einstein's Universe

Special & General Relativity Questions and Answers

Are there any other astronomical systems where general relativity can be tested other than the Hulse-Taylor binary pulsar?

In the 1994 book "Pulsars" edited by G. Srinivasan and published by the Indian Academy of Science, Prof. Joseph Taylor discusses how there are several binary pulsar systems now known:

PSR 1913-16     the famous one!
PSR 1534+12
PSR 1802-07
PSR 1855+09
PSR 2127+11
PSR 2303+46
Only PSR 1534+12 has been 'timed' well enough and long enough to provide a test for general relativity. It was discovered in 1991 and discussed by Aleksander Wolszczan ( Nature vol 350, p. 688) and it promises to surpass even PSR 1913+16 after enough data has been accumulated.

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All answers are provided by Dr. Sten Odenwald (Raytheon STX) for the NASA Astronomy Cafe, part of the NASA Education and Public Outreach program.