Thursday, July 11, 2013

1307.2637 (Lijing Shao et al.)

New limits on the violation of local position invariance of gravity    [PDF]

Lijing Shao, Norbert Wex
Within the parameterized post-Newtonian (PPN) formalism, there could be an anisotropy of local gravity induced by an external matter distribution, even for a fully conservative metric theory of gravity. It reflects the breakdown of the local position invariance of gravity and, within the PPN formalism, is characterized by the Whitehead parameter $\xi$. We present three different kinds of observation, from the Solar system and radio pulsars, to constrain it. The most stringent limit comes from recent results on the extremely stable pulse profiles of solitary millisecond pulsars, that gives $|\hat \xi| < 3.9 \times 10^{-9}$ (95% CL), where the hat denotes the strong-field generalization of $\xi$. This limit is six orders of magnitude more constraining than the current best limit from superconducting gravimeter experiments. It can be converted into an upper limit of $\sim 4 \times 10^{-16}$ on the spatial anisotropy of the gravitational constant.
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