Top 4 Reasons Why GPS Doesn’t Need Einstein’s Relativity

Gatot Soedarto
Aug 3, 2017 · 7 min read

What can Einstein’s relativity do to GPS?

Einstein’s gravity was totally wrong. General relativity is not valid. What can general relativity do to GPS? Hypothesis and test of general relativity are closely related to astronomy, especially celestial navigation. If you would like to make sure general relativity is not valid, physics training is needed; but more importantly (especially for GR) is celestial navigation training.

A visual example of a 24 satellite GPS constellation in motion with the earth rotating. Notice how the number of satellites in view from a given point on the earth’s surface, in this example in Golden, Colorado, USA(39.7469° N, 105.2108° W), changes with time. (wikipedia)

1.GPS measuring location, not measuring time.

It’s about time dilation, both time dilation of special and general relativity. In the case of special relativity- time delay of light-it’s clear that light can be bent by layer of atmosphere. Thus, speed of light is not constant.

“Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.”
“Light always travels at the same speed.”
Have you heard these statements before? They are often quoted as results of Einstein’s theory of relativity. Unfortunately, these statements are somewhat misleading. Let’s add a few words to them to clarify. “Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum.” “Light in a vacuum always travels at the same speed.” Those additional three words in a vacuum are very important.Light traveling through anything other than a perfect vacuum will scatter off off whatever particles exist.

What can special relativity do to GPS? Nothing. Signals from GPS are not sent back from the receiver on earth to the GPS.

University of London Professor Herbert Dingle showed why Special Relativity will always conflict with logic, no matter when we first learn it. According to the theory, if two observers are equipped with clocks, and one moves in relation to the other, the moving clock runs slower than the non-moving clock. But the Relativity principle itself (an integral part of the theory) makes the claim that if one thing is moving in a straight line in relation to another, either one is entitled to be regarded as moving. It follows that if there are two clocks, A and B, and one of them is moved, clock A runs slower than B, and clock B runs slower than A. Which is absurd.

2.Nothing about gravitational time dilation

In the case of general relativity, we know and no doubt: general relativity is not valid. We know that they did not hesitate to say: “One century after its formulation, Einstein’s general relativity has made remarkable predictions and turned out to be compatible with all experimental tests.”; or said that “special and general theory of relativity are incredibly well tested and very accurate theories.” But, actually, these statement is nonsense.

About testing general relatiity via eclipse experiment using optical telescope; if it was difficult in 1995 , to see details of 1–2 seconds of arc, how much more difficult was it in the in 1919–1973 eclipse experiments? The difficulty of performing precise measurements of optical starlight deflection during an eclipse can be seen from the results of 1919, 1922, 1929, 1947, 1952, 1973 experiments.

Testing general relativity using VLBI (Very-long-baseline interferometry). VLBI is a type of astronomical interferometry used in radio astronomy. In VLBI a signal from an astronomical radio source, such as a quasar, is collected at multiple radio telescopes on Earth. The important things must be note, the purpose of VLBI is collecting signal in the form of invisible light, not to measure the altitude of a star and bending of light in the form of visible light. VLBI can not be use as a sextant in celestial navigation

In fact, for more than 90 years statement of Nobel Committe in the year 1921 is still valid:”Without taking into account the value that will be accorded your relativity and gravitation theories after these are confirmed in the future”.

In his book A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking said: ‘A confirmation of general relativity won the Nobel Prize!”. Hawking seems to be saying this, as a hope or may be a joke.

What can general relativity do to GPS? Nothing.

General relativity predicts the clocks on the satellites appear to be ticking faster than identical clocks on the ground. Actually, this prediction can be explained without Einstein’s theory.

Clocks at higher altitude tick faster than clocks on Earth’s surface. It is not caused by gravity, but caused by air density of atmosphere. Closer to the Earth surface, the air is denser compared to the density of the air layer above it. The density is getting looser or weaker when it is getting higher. The effect is the same for ordinary clocks or atomic clocks. Moreover, atomic clocks are sensitive to the temperature changes and pressure in their orbit.

It is has been known in traveling on an airplane. At higher altitude the density of amosphere is getting looser or weaker, and less of friction on an airplane. Traveling in weaker density of atmosphere an airplane can move faster than in denser atmosphere.

Claims on Global Positioning System (GPS)

A prediction of General Relativity is that clocks closer to a massive object will seem to tick more slowly than those located further away. As such, when viewed from the surface of the Earth, the clocks on the satellites appear to be ticking faster than identical clocks on the ground. A calculation using general relativity predicts that the clocks in each GPS satellite should get ahead of ground-based clocks by 45 microseconds per day.

The above claims are incorrect, firstly, because general relativity is not valid: nothing about gravitational time dilation. Secondly, the GPS engineers had realized that clocks at higher altitude tick faster than clocks on Earth’s surface, and it is not caused by gravity, but caused by air density of atmosphere. That’s why the GPS engineers reset the clock rates, slowing them down before launch, and then proceed at the same rate as ground clocks, and the system works.

3.There are no official statements

How accurate is GPS? It depends. GPS satellites broadcast their signals in space with a certain accuracy, but what you receive depends on additional factors, including satellite geometry, signal blockage, atmospheric conditions, and receiver design features/quality.

For example, GPS-enabled smartphones are typically accurate to within a 4.9 m (16 ft.) radius under open sky. However, their accuracy worsens near buildings, bridges, and trees.

From the above website dedicated by the USA government to the GPS, we know that GPS does not put forward anything about Einstein’s relativity. In other words, there are no official statements.

4. Explanation of GPS’s special consultant.

In the 1990’s, Van Flandern worked as a special consultant to the Global Positioning System (GPS), a set of satellites whose atomic clocks allow ground observers to determine their position to within about a foot.

Van Flandern goes on to discuss GPS clocks, which are often cited as being proof positive of Einstein’s relativity. It may surprise you, but the GPS system doesn’t actually use Einstein’s field equations.

In fact, this paper by the U.S. Naval Observatory tells us that, while incorporating Einstein’s equations into the system may slightly improve accuracy, the system itself doesn’t rely on them at all. To quote the opening line of the paper, “The Operational Control System (OCS) of the Global Positioning System (GPS) does not include the rigorous transformations between coordinate systems that Einstein’s general theory of relativity would seem to require.”

At high altitude, where the GPS clocks orbit the Earth, it is known that the clocks run roughly 46,000 nanoseconds (one-billionth of a second) a day faster than at ground level, because the gravitational field is thinner 20,000 kilometers above the Earth. The orbiting clocks also pass through that field at a rate of three kilometers per second — their orbital speed. For that reason, they tick 7,000 nanoseconds a day slower than stationary clocks.

To offset these two effects, the GPS engineers reset the clock rates, slowing them down before launch by 39,000 nanoseconds a day. They then proceed to tick in orbit at the same rate as ground clocks, and the system “works.” Ground observers can indeed pin-point their position to a high degree of precision. In (Einstein) theory, however, it was expected that because the orbiting clocks all move rapidly and with varying speeds relative to any ground observer (who may be anywhere on the Earth’s surface), and since in Einstein’s theory the relevant speed is always speed relative to the observer, it was expected that continuously varying relativistic corrections would have to be made to clock rates. This in turn would have introduced an unworkable complexity into the GPS. But these corrections were not made. Yet “the system manages to work, even though they use no relativistic corrections after launch,” Van Flandern said. “They have basically blown off Einstein”.

Physicists must know that GPS was not actually designed to test Einstein’s theory of relativity, so cannot provide a validation of relativity as experiments specifically designed for that purpose.

The presence of Special and General Relativity effects has no bearing on the accuracy of GPS operation. In summary, it wouldn’t matter whether clocks aboard GPS satellites ran faster or slower than Earth’s clocks or even changed their speed each day. Just so long as the satellites’ clocks remained synchronised with each other and the time-difference relative Earth’s clocks didn’t become too large, GPS receivers would continue to calculate their correct position.

The GPS is certainly an excellent navigational aid. But from an operational viewpoint at least, it doesn’t serve as a test for Relativity. Scientists should stop calling it that.(GPS, Relativity, and pop-Science Mythology).

A physics professor said that given Einstein’s status as a popular icon, there are countless people who wish to prove him wrong, even among scientists with degrees to their names. Does that mean one can not reveal Einstein’s fault, although the evidence and fact had been found that his theory is invalid?

I think, it doesn’t matter people wish to prove him wrong with the goal to their reputation or not, because many people will test the findings. If the findings are incorrect, it will further enhance Einstein’s status as a popular icon. If the findings are correct, it has very important for the future generations of scientists.That’s really very important for the future generations of scientists; but no one has paid attention yet.

Here you’ll find my thoughts on writing and links to my published works: Medium, Twitter, Amazon, Quora. Read story about Science, Military, and Religion: My Blog and care on Health and Safety in this blog: Princess Mandalika. Thank you!

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