Relativity and Cosmology


Binary Pulsars. Orbital Precession and Decay

Authors: H. Ron Harrison

Measurement of the precession and orbital decay of binary pulsars is said to support the General Theory of Relativity. This is true for the rate of precession but the rate of decay is said to be due to energy loss. The loss of energy alone cannot account for the decay. In some cases it is attributed to gravitational energy loss and in others it is due to tidal drag. The quoted theory for the decay is based on Newtonian dynamics but it is not applicable in these cases because the equations used are derived assuming that the energy is constant and the orbits are conical. This article gives justification to this comment, however this does not mean that gravitational radiation is not the cause of binary decay.

Comments: 4 pages

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Submission history

[v1] 7 Jan 2011

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