Faster-than-light neutrino puzzle claimed solved by special relativity

October 14, 2011

(Credit: CERN)

The relativistic motion of clocks on board GPS satellites exactly accounts for the superluminal effect in the OPERA experiment, says  physicist Ronald van Elburg at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, The Physics arXiv Blog reports.

“From the perspective of the clock, the detector is moving towards the source and consequently the distance travelled by the particles as observed from the clock is shorter,” says van Elburg. By this he means shorter than the distance measured in the reference frame on the ground. The OPERA team overlooks this because it assumes the clocks are on the ground not in orbit.

Van Elburg calculates that it should cause the neutrinos to arrive 32 nanoseconds early. But this must be doubled because the same error occurs at each end of the experiment. So the total correction is 64 nanoseconds, almost exactly what the OPERA team observed.

Ref.: Ronald A.J. van Elburg, Times Of Flight Between A Source And A Detector Observed From A GPS Satellite,