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Final Test of Relativity Theory by Five Expeditions Observing Eclipse

May 10, 1929
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What were termed to be final tests of the Einstein Relativity Theory were made by five scientific expeditions during the solar eclipse in Polynesia and the South Seas yesterday. The eclipse, which was computed to last about four minutes, was an obscuration of ninety per cent of the face of the sun, when the moon came between the solar rays and the earth. The expeditions, located at Iloilo, south of Manila, P. I., were ready to photograph the phenomenon in an attempt to finally prove the correctness of Prof. Einstein’s theory of relativity and also to obtain more information on the substance and origin of the solar corona.

It was believed by scientists that the eclipse visible in Sumatra across the Malay Peninsula, China Sea and in the Phillipines, will yield sufficient evidence to prove once and for all and beyond the doubts of the most sceptical the validity of the Einstein theory. The most direct proof of the validity of the Einstein theory is the corroboration of his contention that the rays of starlight when they pass close to the sun deviate from their straight line. This phenomenon can be observed at no other time except during the totals eclipse of the sun. Observations made by scientists of various nations during previous solar eclipses confirmed Einstein’s contention.

Dr. Clyde Fisher, Curator of Astronomy of the American Museum of Natural History explained that during no total eclipse since the Einstein theory had been tested had there been any star apparently so close to the sun as the one which was nearby during yesterday’s eclipse. A comparison of photographs made in advance of the eclipse, when the sun was still far away, and during and after the eclipse will enable the scientists to measure accurately the exact bending of the light rays by the sun’s presence, when the differences between the various photographs are studied. Dr. Fisher added that the scientists did not expect that the star rays will arrive unbent. If such a thing happens, it would go far toward disproving the whole Einstein point of view. But that is something which few scientists believed possible.

The results of the observations will probably not be available for some time.

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