Michelson-Gale: an experiment left unfinished

Michelson Morley’s experiment: the implications

The Michelson Morley experiment of 1881 has enormous implications. After analyzing them, scientists could have perceived there is not a relative movement between the Earth and the ether. The aim of the experiment was to detect, by the use of an interferometer appositely conceived, a possible movement of the Earth with a speed of 30 km/s around the sun. The experiment failed, not because of the non-existence of the ether, as a number of scientists pointed out, but because the Earth doesn’t move around the sun. Proofs of this situation can be established by the fact that there is no Coriolis manifestation on the Earth and because there is no measurable curvature, being the Earth flat.

Assembling an enormous interferometer

In 1904 Michelson contrived another experiment to measure, this time, a possible ether movement in the earth by diurnal motion. This experiment could be carried out in 1925 only. To reach their goal, first technicians had to assemble an enormous interferometer. They set it up according to the Sagnac’s model. Their aim was to evaluate the changing in speed at some different latitude over the earth. They knew that, due to the globe rotation around its axis, they had to obtain some cogent evidence of that variation. On the basis of differences in latitude all over the earth, the movement speeds should be diversified.  The reason is that on a globular earth in a rotation, the peripheral speeds are manifold, changing with latitude as you can deduce from the picture below.


rotation speed

Detecting variations in speed with the changing of latitude

The speed is the highest at the equator and null at the poles. So when you consider two different latitudes, both in the northern hemisphere, you will remark that the speed of the latitude more southern is greater than the other. An enormous Sagnac interferometer, with a perimeter of 1.9 km had to be assembled. It had to be great enough to detect the changing in speed at two slightly different latitudes. So it had to reach different spots at some hundred meters of distance one from the other. Even though in only some hundred meters there was not such a big variation in speed, the interferometer was able to detect the changing.

Positioning the interferometer along two near parallels

This interferometer was a huge rectangle (see the rectangle in the picture) with two sides positioned along two near parallels. One side (the blue one) should have experienced a smaller speed than the other one (the white one).

Like the Michelson Morley interferometer, this one had been contrived in order to interfere light rays originated by the same source put in rotation into two opposite directions. A side of the rectangle was more northern while the other was southward. The two rays of light running the two different sides of the rectangle should have been affected in a different way by the wind of ether. This wind, as you can certainly realize, is due not to the movement of the Earth inside the ether but to the movement of the ether upon the Earth. In the following images, I will draw the different paths run by the two light beams.

The expected results obtained

It is clear that the two rays are affected in a different way by the ether and this should generate a shift in the interference fringe given by this formula:

where A is the area of the rectangle, ω is the angular speed, λ is the wavelength, c is the speed of light and φ is the latitude.

This is the Sagnac formula already considered in my last article. With this experiment, the expected result had been found, proving thus the presence of an ether wind.

Latitude: two different concepts

How to explain an ether wind on a motionless Earth? Let’s try to consider. On a flat earth, the latitude concept is a little different from the globular idea. We can describe it with polar coordinates. A point on the Earth is described by its distance r from the North Pole and by an angle ϴ that we can consider counterclockwise starting from the Greenwich meridian, just to give an example. The distance r is analogous to the latitude.

A speed increasing southward

We know the sun moves with a spiral trajectory on a cone. In effect when considering the speed of the sun, it will be lower northward if compared with a more southern speed. This is due to the fact that the sun will run bigger circumferences as it moves southward. So the interferometer detected correctly an ether wind with a speed that increases moving toward the south.

In my next article, I will get into further considerations while paying attention to the ether speed.

Why not try the same in the southern hemisphere?

I can conclude this lecture with some further consideration about the Michelson Gale experiment. A similar interferometer should be used to prove that the Earth is flat. The Michelson Gale experiment has been conducted in the northern hemisphere in 1925. If the Earth were a Globe, the interferometer should behave in an opposite way in the southern hemisphere. There should be a result showing that the highest speed is northward and the lowest southward, because, in that case, you have to move northward to get nearer to the equator.

On a flat earth, the geographical situation is totally different from that on a globe. Parallels, while moving southward, will gradually draw bigger circumferences.  As a result, the sun keeps on rising its speed from the Cancer tropic to the Capricorn one.

A Sagnac interferometer placed in the southern hemisphere should be able to detect a higher speed in the southern side. Obviously, such an experiment has never been done.



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