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March 2011 - Kezerashvili

NCCU CREST Seminar Series

Roman Kezerashvili, Ph.D., D.Sc.
Professor of Physics
The City University of New York

USING SOLAR SAILS TO TEST GENERAL RELATIVITY
ABSTRACT:

The motion of the solar sail is determined by the solar radiation pressure as well as the spacetime geometry. We discuss an application of astrodynamics for a solar sail, when general relativistic effects and solar radiation pressure are considered simultaneously and demonstrate the advantages of using solar sail propelled spacecraft to test general relativistic effects compared with more conventional spacecraft. We present deviations from Kepler’s third law for heliocentric orbits near the sun. In particular, we consider deviations in the period of circular orbits due to the spacetime curvature near the sun, frame dragging from the rotation of the sun, and the oblateness of the sun. The Poynting-Robertson effect on a nearly-circular heliocentric trajectory of a solar sail is discussed. In addition, for non-Keplerian orbits which are outside of the plane of the sun, we predict an analog of the Lense-Thirring effect for which the orbital plane precesses around the sun. All above mentioned can be tested by a solar sail propelled satellite.

Friday, March 4, 2011
Room 2229, Mary Townes Science Building
3:00 pm

For addition information contact: Dr. Branislav Vlahovic (vlahovic@nccu.edu or 919-530-7253).