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Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity Was Confirmed in a Distant Galaxy

Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity revolutionized how we understand space, time, and gravity. While most of us can only boast a surface-level understanding of the theory, it’s time to brush up on the game-changing concept, seeing as a new study was able to validate Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

Led by Dr. Thomas Collett of the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation at the UK’s University of Portsmouth, an international team of astronomers conducted what they say was the first test of general relativity on a large astronomical scale. “A Precise Extragalactic Test of General Relativity,” which was published in the journal Science on Thursday, found that gravity’s behavior in distant galaxies reflects that way gravity behaves in our solar system, just as Einstein’s theory predicted.

Einstein determined that distortions in spacetime are felt as gravity.

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So what is the theory of general relativity? We first have to look at the physicist’s theory of special relativity, which Einstein introduced in his 1905 paper “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies.” This is where Einstein first calculated the speed of light (186,000 miles per second) and posited that the laws of physics appear the same to all observers. These two principles would form the basis of special relativity, where Einstein deduced, in its simplest terms, that everything is moving relative to everything else.

Einstein’s theory of special relativity lays the groundwork for his 1915 theory of general relativity and its equivalence principle of observing gravity. From there, Einstein explores the ways in which spacetime, a mathematical model that joins space and time in a continuum, is curved by the presence of gravity, matter, energy, and momentum. It’s a geometric theory of how gravitation affects the energy that moves matter around and can be used to predict how much curvature is created by a mass.

To validate these tenets of general relativity, Collett’s team used data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and a technique called gravitational lensing, whereby a massive object acts like a lens by bending light so that the image of the background object is distorted. In this scenario, the researchers used galaxy ESO 325-G004 as their lens, which is roughly 500 million light-years from Earth.

The galaxy serving as a lens allowed Collett to measure the mass and curvature of the spacetime in the neighboring galaxy. By comparing the galaxy’s mass with the measured curvature of spacetime, the team found the mass of the galaxy to be what the theory of general relativity predicts.

While the team plans to study the spacetime curvature of other galaxies, their groundbreaking first study verifies that Einstein’s theory of general relativity can apply to matter outside of our solar system. Not only does this vindicate some long-held theories, it could be a boon for cosmologists in their quest to identify the location and characteristics of other galaxies.

Media via Michael Koppitz (Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute)/Zuse Institute Berlin)

Custom-Fit Wireless Earphones for Next Level Sound

These earbuds mold to your ears for a secure fit and reduced noise. 

As a New Yorker, I’m always wearing my earphones in noisy places. Whether I’m in the subway, busy streets, or just trying to get some work done at a cafe, I rely on my earbuds to create a little bit of a safe space, auditorily speaking. But most earbuds don’t really do a great job of blocking out the outside world. So what’s a person to do who doesn’t want to carry around giant over-the-ear headphones? I decided to try Decibullz Custom Molded Bluetooth Wireless Earphones to find out if that was the answer.

6 Immoral Studies That Led to Breakthroughs

What do you do with good data from bad science?

There’s a long history of researchers doing some fucked up experiments in the name of science. While this is well known, scientists are more tight-lipped about the results of those experiments, many of which were actually scientifically groundbreaking.

Today, most modern scientists are bound by the Nuremberg Code, a set of ethical rules developed when the Nazi medical atrocities went public. But back in the day, everything and everyone was fair game. Here’s a look at some super-immoral studies and their uncomfortably valuable results.

The Scientific Difference Between LSD and Magic Mushrooms

Two hallucinogens, both alike in trippiness.

Hallucinogens are a wide group of drugs with a diverse range of capabilities. Some have been proven to alleviate ailments like PTSD and anxiety; others will definitely make you crap your pants while thinking your roommate has turned into a giant crane. The two most popular hallucinogens are magic mushrooms and LSD, technically known as lysergic acid diethylamide. While they have similar effects, both drugs have enough differences between them that any potential user should be less than chill about considering them the same.

A New Species of Ancient Human Was Discovered in a Cave in the Philippines

Meet Homo luzonensis, named for the island of Luzon. 

Near the northernmost tip of the Philippines is a deep, seven-chambered limestone cavern known as Callao Cave. In 2007, archaeologists digging in its chambers found a small finger bone — which, at 67,000 years old, was deemed the earliest evidence of a human presence in the archipelago. But for years, nobody was sure what kind of human it belonged to. Now, new bones and teeth found within the cave reveal an unexpected result: All of the artifacts belong to a new species of human known as Homo luzonensis.

Viral Fat Macaque, "Uncle Fat," Is Actually Much Better Off Now 

A notorious monkey recently enjoyed a small resurgence of fame.

An enormous macaque that’s going viral on Reddit might just give Knickers the giant Australian steer a run for its money. On Friday, a gif posted to the subreddit /r/WTF showed an obese macaque — so big its belly blankets its splayed legs — chowing down on leafy greens. Cute as the big boy is, the reason he got so fat is decidedly not.