1922 eclips that shows how the sun's gravity warps the space around it

The astronomer Arthur Eddington said it was the greatest moment of his life when he measured the image of a star and found that the sun's gravity warped the space through which the light had traveled. This photo is from the 1922 eclipse, where the effect was reconfirmed. (The stars are not visible in this reproduction... what you see is circles drawn around them.)

The eclipse experiments, like most important new science, were done at the very limit of available techniques. It was not until the 1960s, with vastly improved methods, that the gravitational bending of light could be demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt. Until then one could almost say that the logic and beauty of Einstein's theory did as much to confirm the observations as the observations did to confirm his theory.

You can EXIT to a page on history of general relativity (Univ. of St. Andrews)
or EXIT to a guide to Einstein's general relativity (NCSA).

Image © Lick Observatory.
Previous: World Fame I