Event Title

Effects of Gravitational Time Dilation in Short-Duration Balloon Satellite Flights

Session

Frank J. Redd Student Competition 2021

Location

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Abstract

The theory of general relativity stipulates that clocks located in a stronger gravitational field run more slowly than clocks located in a weaker gravitational field. This time dilation is often small and hard to detect. Its measurement requires precisely synchronized clocks accurate to the nanosecond level. An experiment aimed at detecting gravitational time dilation should last long enough to allow for detectable time drift to accumulate within the two clocks. This amount of time depends on the precision of the clocks used in the experiment. We describe the procedures followed to accomplish the task of measuring gravitational time dilation relying on methods and equipment available to undergraduate students. Our experiment employed chip scale atomic clocks on board a high-altitude helium balloon’s payload. We illustrate how, under the constraints of our experiment, we attempted to model and experimentally verify gravitational time dilation. We also describe the method we devised to detect time dilation without constant measurement and communication between the two clocks used in our experiment. Our payload component, aimed at verifying gravitational time dilation, had to conform to balloon satellite payload weight restrictions.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Aug 11th, 3:00 PM Aug 11th, 3:30 PM

Effects of Gravitational Time Dilation in Short-Duration Balloon Satellite Flights

Utah State University, Logan, UT

The theory of general relativity stipulates that clocks located in a stronger gravitational field run more slowly than clocks located in a weaker gravitational field. This time dilation is often small and hard to detect. Its measurement requires precisely synchronized clocks accurate to the nanosecond level. An experiment aimed at detecting gravitational time dilation should last long enough to allow for detectable time drift to accumulate within the two clocks. This amount of time depends on the precision of the clocks used in the experiment. We describe the procedures followed to accomplish the task of measuring gravitational time dilation relying on methods and equipment available to undergraduate students. Our experiment employed chip scale atomic clocks on board a high-altitude helium balloon’s payload. We illustrate how, under the constraints of our experiment, we attempted to model and experimentally verify gravitational time dilation. We also describe the method we devised to detect time dilation without constant measurement and communication between the two clocks used in our experiment. Our payload component, aimed at verifying gravitational time dilation, had to conform to balloon satellite payload weight restrictions.