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Old Sep 1st 2009, 02:01 PM   #1
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Michelson-Morley Experiment

I'm not sure if this belongs here... But I'm pretty sure it is since this part of the class is on Special Relativity.

In one series of measurements of the speed of light, Michelson used a path length L of 27.4 km (17 mi).

(a) What is the time needed for light to make the round trip of distance 2L?

(b) What is the classical correction term in seconds in the equation

$\displaystyle \Delta{t} = \frac{2L}{c}\left(\frac{1}{1 -\left(\frac{v^2}{c^2}\right)}\right) \approx \frac{2L}{c}\left(1 + \frac{v^2}{c^2}\right)$


assuming Earth's speed is $\displaystyle v = 10^{-4}c$.

(c) From about 1600 measurements, Michelson arrived at a result for the speed of light of 299,796 $\displaystyle \pm$ 4 km/s. Is this experimental value accurate enough to be sensitive to the correction term above?

Last edited by Aryth; Sep 1st 2009 at 02:04 PM.
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Old Sep 1st 2009, 03:25 PM   #2
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What are your difficulties with these questions?

Show an attempt.
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