Gyros, Clocks, Interferometers...: Testing Relativistic Graviy in Space

Volume 562 of the series Lecture Notes in Physics pp 83-108


Gravitomagnetism and the Clock Effect

  • Bahram MashhoonAffiliated withDepartment of Physics and Astronomy, University of Missouri
  • , Frank GronwaldAffiliated withInstitut GET, Universität Magdeburg
  • , Herbert I.M. LichteneggerAffiliated withInstitut für Weltraumforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften

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The main theoretical aspects of gravitomagnetism are reviewed. It is shown that the gravitomagnetic precession of a gyroscope is intimately connected with the special temporal structure around a rotating mass that is revealed by the gravitomagnetic clock effect. This remarkable effect, which involves the difference in the proper periods of a standard clock in prograde and retrograde circular geodesic orbits around a rotating mass, is discussed in detail. The implications of this effect for the notion of “inertial dragging” in the general theory of relativity are presented. The theory of the clock effect is developed within the PPN framework and the possibility of measuring it via spaceborne clocks is examined.