Solar eclipse image taken aboard Gemini 12.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA
Can an Eclipse Change Gravity?
News story originally written on July 6, 1999
A question more than four decades old will be answered soon. The last solar eclipse of the millennium was used by scientists around the world to test a theory first developed in 1954. A French economist named Maurice Allais believes that during an eclipse, Earth's gravitational pull slighty increases.
Allais tested his theory during two total solar eclipses, one in 1954, and another in 1959. He used an instrument called a Foucault pendulum. This special tool swings in the same direction while the Earth turns underneath it. If his theory holds true, everything we know about gravity is false. Through the past 40+ years, no one has been able to duplicate Allais' experiment with any success.
David Doever of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Centre in Huntsville decided to put the experiment to the test. Doever doesn't expect to find proof to support Allais, but believes such an theory must be investigated.
You might also be interested in:
An eclipse of the Sun occurs when the Earth passes through the Moon's shadow. A total eclipse of the Sun takes place only during a new moon, when the Moon is directly between the Sun and the Earth. When...more
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The last solar eclipse of this millennium occurred on August 11, 1999. Amateurs and scientists witnessed a truly awesome site. This was a total eclipse, which means the Moon completely covered the Sun....more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit. This was the United States' 123rd...more
A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more
Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials want an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting to be...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun early last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. The SWICS instrument on ACE has produced a new and very...more