1970 Solar Eclipse as "Seen" by a Torsion Pendulum

Phys. Rev. D 3, 823 – Published 15 February 1971
Erwin J. Saxl and Mildred Allen


During the solar eclipse of 7 March 1970, readings were taken and recorded electronically of the times required for the torsion pendulum to rotate through a given fixed part of its path, involving both clockwise and counterclockwise motions, on its first swing from rest. Significant variations in these times were observed during the course of the eclipse as well as in the hours just preceding and just following the eclipse itself. Between the onset of the eclipse and its midpoint there is a steady increase in the observed times. After the midpoint the times decrease suddenly and level off promptly to values considerably greater than those observed before the eclipse. Furthermore, before the eclipse there is a periodic variation in these times. This strange periodicity was essentially repeated two weeks later at the same hours, though the actual values were somewhat greater than the earlier ones. These increases in actual values exceed by a factor of 105 those that can be explained by the attraction of the moon due to its change in position relative to the sun and earth. All this leads to the conclusion that classical gravitational theory needs to be modified to interpret these experimental facts.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevD.3.823

  • Received 6 August 1970
  • Published in the issue dated 15 February 1971

© 1971 The American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

Erwin J. Saxl

  • Tensitron, Incorporated, Harvard, Massachusetts 01451

Mildred Allen

  • Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts 01075

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