Solar eclipse and gravitation

After the solar eclipse yesterday, I read a short news story that said NASA scientist had organized a series of experiments around the world to test whether the eclipse would influence the Earth’s gravity. The tests used Foucault pendulums (pendula?). So far, the answer seemed to be no, but the data had not yet been examined completely.

My question is: Why on earth (haha) should a solar eclipse influence our gravitation? I realize that sun and moon standing in a row exert a stronger pull, but wouldn’t that be cancelled out by centrifugal forces?

Note: I am not referring to the magnetic field, which was also in the news. I understand that phenomenon.

Obviously, Holg, if the moon is standing between the sun and the earth, then it blocks the sun’s gravity waves, causing less gravity on earth. This effect was especially noticed in Kansas, where it made the school boards light-headed.

Blocked gravity waves, eh? This gives rise to a new theory regarding the cause of high tides on the side of the Earth opposite the Moon: The water to attracted by the Moon and tries to push toward it along the sides of the Earth. When the Moon turns the corner, its gravitational pull is blocked by the Earth, and the water flops back in a huge wave.

That right Dex!

If I remember my high-energy physics courses correctly, gravity is carried by “gravitons,” which are just a kind of “photon.” Since “photons” are blocked by opaque objects, the moon blocks the sun’s gravity. As a neat experiment, Get some aluminum foil and spread it on the ground. Stand atop of this a notice how you levitate. That’s because the “graviton” can’t get to you because they’re reflected by the aluminum for back into the ground.

Check out:

Basically, some amateur astronomer (who also won the Nobel for Economics in 1988) claimed to observe anomalies in a pendulum in Paris during total eclipses in 1954 and 1959.

The researchers doubt that they will see the phenomenon, but are doing it anyway, just in case.

These light hearted,even flippant answers are all well and good,but let’s not over look the specific gravity ofHo;g,s original question.

Signitorily yours, Mr John
" Pardon me while I have a strange interlude."-Marx

Seriously, I believe they really were checking to see if the moon did measurably “block” the sun’s gravity in any way. Some more esoteric theories of gravity predict a small second-order effect along those lines.

BTW: “gravitons” are still a theoretical concept. IF quantum physics applies to gravity (a big if), then the graviton would be the quantum of gravitational force. To not flatly contradict general relativity, it would have to be a massless, spin 2 boson. But applying quantum physics to relativity is still enough to cause fistfights among physicists.

uh…" of holg’s"
Mr Thin, i tried your experiment but results were not conclusive, when i replaced the thin tin foil with green cheese however…

There was this guy, real smart, who discovered gravity windows, that had to do with the alignment of the moon and the sun. He predicted 5 earthquakes in a row, to the minute, including Loma Prieta, Northridge & Mexico City. He predicted a 6th, on that fault in Missouri, I forgot it’s name, but it did not occur. They canceled school that day. He kept his calculations top secret and died shortly after his last prediction, his 1st false one. I know the gravity windows have to do with very low tides, becasue that’s when the Loma Preita earthquake happened, during the peak of a minus tide. Does anyone have more info?

You refer to the (locally called) Nut Case, Ivan Browning. What a stir he caused here in the Mid West with his drivel. It was a sad period for anyone with more than half a brain. It was a field day for ‘earthquake kit’ sellers and the insurance companies. Indeed, many schools canceled classes. The date, as I remember, was supposed to be December 12. The status of New Madrid did much to bolster the fears. No doubt, there will be some sort of release of the NM fault, but reliable prediction is still a twinkle in science’s eye.

Chuck L.
St. Louis, MO

“The intellectuals’ chief cause of anguish are one another’s works.”
Jacques Barzun
Cheers! CAL

Mr Thin, I actually have accomplished what you hinted at. Using Diamond-Plate aluminum seems to be the most efficacious method of stopping the gravitons from taking a foothold <snicker> upon the testee.
Try it on a clear day, with low humidity. Make sure you are on a level surface, opposed to a hill- the first time you levitate, you tend to fall off of your platform. Using a platform too large in square footage will result in the nullification of Barber’s Third Law. Best not to go there.
Also, a Bike Helmet might me a good idea. Happy floating !! :slight_smile:


The overwhelming majority of people have more than the average (mean) number of legs. – E. Grebenik