3 most common types of gravitomagnetic effects

Learn about the 3 most common types of gravitomagnetic effects: Lense-Thirring effect, gravitomagnetic clock effect, and gravitomagnetic force.

3 Most Common Types of Gravitomagnetic Effects

The concept of gravitomagnetism is a fundamental aspect of general relativity. It refers to the idea that moving masses generate a magnetic-like field that affects the motion of other nearby objects. In other words, just as a moving electric charge generates a magnetic field, a moving mass generates a gravitomagnetic field.

Lense-Thirring Effect

The Lense-Thirring effect, also known as frame-dragging, is one of the most well-known gravitomagnetic effects. It refers to the idea that a massive rotating object will “drag” the surrounding spacetime around with it, causing nearby objects to experience a slight precession in their orbits. The effect is named after the Austrian physicists Josef Lense and Hans Thirring, who first predicted it in 1918.

The Lense-Thirring effect is most noticeable around rapidly rotating objects such as black holes or neutron stars. However, it is also present around less extreme objects such as the Earth, although the effect is much smaller and more difficult to measure.

Gravitomagnetic Clock Effect

The gravitomagnetic clock effect is another important gravitomagnetic effect. It refers to the idea that a clock placed in a strong gravitomagnetic field will run at a slightly different rate than a clock outside the field. The effect arises because the clock experiences a different gravitational potential at different points in its orbit.

The gravitomagnetic clock effect has been observed in a number of experiments, including the Gravity Probe B mission launched by NASA in 2004. The effect is also an important consideration in the design of GPS systems, which rely on highly accurate time measurements to determine location.