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A phenomenological model for the precession of planets and deflection of light

Arbab I. Arbab
Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Khartoum, P.O. 321, Khartoum 11115, Sudan
Department of Physics and Applied Mathematics, Faculty of Applied Science and Computer,
Omdurman Ahlia University, P.O. Box 786, Omdurman, Sudan
We presented a phenomenological mode that attributes the precession of per-
ihelion of planets to dipole distribution of matter and relativistic correction .
This modifies Newton’s equation by adding an inversely cube term with dis-
tance. The total energy of the new system is found to be the same as the New-
tonian one. Moreover, we have deduced the deflection of light formula from
Rutherford scattering. The relativistic term can be accounted for quantum cor-
rection of the gravitational potential on electron orbit in hydrogen atom.

1 Introduction of a test particle in such a case will not be exactly Keplerian.

In order to mimic the relativistic prediction it would be neces-
Though Newton’s theory was successful in describing gravi- sary to hypothesize a gravitational potential that is dependent
tational interactions related to the orbital motion of planets, it on the angular velocity of the test particle, not just on its posi-
fell short to account for the anomalous precession of the peri- tion. A relativistic kinetic energy correction to the Newtonian
helion of Mercury and the bending of light by the Sun. In this orbit will also have a similar contribution (i.e., ∝ r−2 ).
regard, Einstein theory of relativity predicts such extra terms. We consider in this letter a potential that varies inversely
Hence, Einstein theory of general relativity became the theory with the cube of the radial distance. This is also equivalent to
of gravitation. Objects with strong gravity like binary pul- a relativistic correction to the Newtonian potential (or force).
sars are well treated by the general theory of relativity (GTR). Calculations show that this term has a contribution exactly
According to GTR a gravitational wave is librated from these equals to the GTR prediction. The cubic term can arise in
highly spinning objects. The experimental results confirm the the Newton law of gravitation due to tidal force existing be-
theoretical finding of the GTR [1,2]. tween any two extendable objects. This term is responsible of
Careful observations of Mercury showed that the actual slowing down the spin rotation of the Earth. Notice that a cu-
value of the precession disagreed with that calculated from bic term can be added to the Schwartzchild metric of general
Newton’s theory by 43 seconds of arc per century. A number relativity. Hence, Newton law can still be hold for celestial
of ad hoc solutions had been proposed, but they tended to in- objects and becomes indistinguishable from GRT. The effect
troduce more problems. In general relativity, this remaining of this modified potential is to reduce the angular momentum
precession is explained by gravitation being mediated by the of the planet by a relativistic correction.
curvature of space-time. The GTR predicts exactly the ob-
served amount of perihelion shift. The precession of Mercury 2 The model
was the result of many interactions with the planets of the so-
lar System. Consider here the potential energy produced by a mass distri-
However, in actual physical situations, the gravitating body bution M arising from monopole and dipole radial contribu-
may not be exactly spherical. For example, if the central body tion. These terms can be written as
is spinning about its axis, it will be slightly oblate. In such a
GmM m A
case, the Newtonian gravitational field is not spherically sym- U(r) = − − 2 , (1)
metrical, and the force exerted on a test particle at a distance r r r
is not exactly proportional to r−2 . As a result, the actual orbit

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where m is the mass of the test body in this potential energy. where h = r2 dϕ dt .
The first term the ordinary Newtonian potential energy, the The additional term will induce and extra acceleration on
second term arises due to a dipole distribution of the mass orbiting bodies.
producing the potential energy. This term also mimics the rel- The solution of Eq.(6) is given by [4]
ativistic correction of the Newtonian term. If we believe this p
r= , (7)
term embodies also the relativistic correction, using dimen- (1 + e cos γ ϕ)
sional argument, only M, G and c can be considered. Hence,
one can write
2mA γ 2 h2 2 2Eh2 γ2 GmM
 GM 2 1 − γ2 = , p = , e − 1 = ,E = −
A=β , where β = comst. . (2) Mh 2 GM mG 2 2a
c (8)
This will lead to a force, F = − dr , on a body of mass m of
dU and E is the energy at the perihelion (ϕ = 0), so that p =
a(1 − e 2 ). The radial period P is given by P = 2π . The angular
the form ω
mGM  GM 2 1 ∆ϕ of the perihelion precession during one period is
F = − 2 − 2β m . (3)
r c r3 (1 − γ)
∆ϕ = 2π ' 2π(1 − γ), (9)
The second term in Eq.(3) can be written as γ
 GM 2 1 GM GmM  v 2 GmM  v 2 and its mean precession rate per period is given by (for γ ' 1)
m = × = = F N , (4)
c r3 rc2 r2 c r2 c β 2π GM
∆ϕ = 2 . (10)
for a circular orbit, where v = r and F N = r2 is the
2 GM GmM c a(1 − e2 )
Newtonian gravitational force. Therefore, we may treat the Comparing this equation with the Einstein formula, one ob-
second term in Eq.(3) as a relativistic correction to the New- tains
tonian force. β = 3. (11)
Notice that in electromagnetism a dipole contribution comes
Hence, Eq.(3) becomes
from the fact that we have positive and negative charges. How-
mGM  GM 2 1
ever, we see here even a negative mass doesn’t exist, the sec-
F = − 2 − 6m , (12)
ond term gives the same contribution, and has always an at- r c r3
tractive nature. Such an additional attractive force will have and the corresponding potential energy∗ in Eq.(5)
its effects on the orbital motion of Earth’s satellites. This term  GM 2 1
might also arise due to tidal force which is inversely related to U(r) = − − 3m . (13)
the cube of the distance of the two bodies. This force eventu- r c r2
ally leads to tidal locking of the two masses. This implies that the inclusion of a relativistic correction (and/or
The potential energy in Eq.(1) is that of a Keplerian mo- a dipole distribution) results in making the orbit precess with
tion perturbed by an inverse cube force, hence Eq.(1) can be an angle coincides with the GTR prediction [1]. This is evi-
written as dent if we use Eq.(4) in Eq.(9) so that one gets
 GM 2 1  v 2
GmM ∆ϕ = 6π
U(r) = − − mβ . (5) c
r c r2
Once again, from the relativistic kinetic energy correction one which is the precession angle per period.
4 We remark here that if one included a force term, F =
2 . Hence, for v
obtains a term of the form 83 mv 2 = GM , one
c r 3GmMh2
1 c2 r 4
, besides Newton force, one would obtain a value close
finds a contribution ∝ GM c r 2 to the potential energy. Using to GTR precession.
the Binet formula [3], Eq.(3) can be written as

 A modified  Schwartzchild metric would
become ds2 =
2u 6G2 M 2 6G2 M 2

! 2 2GM 2 2GM 2 2 2
d dU 1 c 1 − − dt − 1 − − dr − r dΩ Moreover,
F = −h2 u2 +u =− , u= , (6) g = − (1 c2 r c4 r2
+ 2U/mc2 )
c2 r c4 r2
dϕ2 dr r 00

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3 Relativistic acceleration where K = 21 mv2 is the kinetic energy of the mass m. In polar
coordinates (r , θ) this can be written as
The relativistic force in Eq.(12) (using Eq.(4)) produces an
1  2  GmM  GM 2
additional acceleration on all planets of the solar system, given
E = m ṙ + r θ̇ −
2 2
− 3m , L = mr2 θ̇ ,
by 2 r c
 GM 2 1 1
where L is the angular momentum. This can be written as an
ac = 6 3
, ac = 3.55 × 10−10 3 , (15) equation of the mass m in an effective potential (U )
c r r E

where ac is measured in m/s2 and r in AU. 1 L02 GmM

E = mṙ2 + U E , U E = 2
− , (23)
The centripetal force on a mass moving in a circular orbit 2 2mr r
under this force is given by where  GmM 2
mv 2 GmM  GM 1  2 L 02
= L 2
− 6 , (24)
= + 6m . (16) c
r r2 c r3
is the reduce angular momentum of the mass. Thus L0 should
Hence, the orbital velocity will be be the conserved angular momentum and not L as defined in
r ! Eq.(22).
GM 3GM 1 Using Eqs.(13) and (16) this yields
v= 1+ 2 , (17)
r c r
E=− . (25)
for an orbit r > c2 . Defining r0 = c2 = r0 = 4.4 km for all
6GM 3GM 2r
planets, Eq.(17) is transformed into This is the same as the Newtonian total energy. Thus, the
r potential we have considered is unique. This may suggest that
GM  r0 
v= 1+ . (18) gravity is not exactly inverse square law. What happens here
r r is that due to the extra force term, the velocity increases while
Hence, the orbital period will be the distance decreases in such a way the total energy remains
constant. Notice that if we had included any other terms in the
2r0 4π potential energy, we wouldn’t have obtained this conclusion.
T ' TN 1 − , T N2 = r3 . (19)
r GM
4 Deflection of light and Rutherford deflection
Therefore, the period will be shorter than the Keplerian pe-
riod. A significant period decay has been observed in binary Gravitational deflection of light by matter is one of the defin-
pulsars, which is attributed to the emission of gravitational ing predictions of Einstein’s General Relativity (GR) [1, 2].
waves from these pulsars [5]. According to GR, the deflection of a light ray just grazing the
The rate of energy loss due to gravitational radiation (by Sun is 1.75 seconds of arc. The deflection angle at a Sun’s rim
binary pulsars) is given by [5] b (impact parameter) is given by
dP 48π 4π GM 4GM
=− 5 , (20) ∆θ = . (26)
dt 5c P bc2
where P is the orbital period of the binary pulsar. The light is deflected towards the Sun. GR interprets this
The total energy of a mass m orbiting in a potential given bending of light to the curvature of space-time the Sun makes
in Eq.(13) is when light passed by the Sun. However, Newton obtained a
E = K+U, (21) value halved this value, using the Newtonian laws. One of
the important events to test the bending of light was done in

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Sudan on February 25, 1952 during a solar eclipse that had The perihelion precession frequency for an electron at a Bohr
confirmed one of the valuable predictions of GTR [6]. radius is given by ω = 19.2 arcsec/s. This is a very fast preces-
One can compare this with Rutherford scattering by α- sion and can be measured experimentally in hydrogen atom.
particle where the particle deflected away from the nucleus The second term in the potential describe in Eq.(13) (a
because of electrical repulsion. The deflecting angle is given correction to the Newtonian potential, first order in h) can be
by casted in the form
∆θ = , (27) 3G hg 1
mr0 v2 Vg = − , (30)
c r2
where r0 is the distance of closest approach and k is the Coulomb
constant.. Using our recent analogy between electrodynamics where hg = GM2 is some characteristic Planck constant [8, 9].
and gravitomagnetic [7] entitles us to make the following re- Such a potential can give rise to some quantum mechanical
placement in Rutherford formula to obtain the gravitational phenomena happening at large scale having their analogues
formula, viz., at microscopic scale. We anticipate that such a term would
appear in any quantum gravity theory.
e (Q = Ze) → m (M) , k → G, (28) Owing to the gravito-electric analogy, the electric quan-
tum potential (a correction to the Coulomb potential) will be
and for massless particle (light) we set v → c. Hence one
arrives at the formula 3kh 1
Vq = − , (31)
4GM c r2
∆θ = , (29)
bc2 where h is the Planck constant. Notice that the two potentials
which is the same as GR formula with b = r0 . Therefore, are independent of the charge and mass.
this analogy is an interesting one, and one can use it to bridge This correction term would induce a precession of the electron
safely from electromagnetic phenomena to gravitomagnetic orbit in hydrogen atom like the precession of planets. It can
phenomena or vice-versa. also be compared with the Larmor precession resulting from
Notice that Schwartzchild radius of a black hole could be di- the spin-orbit interaction in the hydrogen atom. We remark
rectly obtained from the escape velocity of a non-relativistic here that the potential in Eq.(13) can be thought of as a first
gravitating object when its escape velocity is equated to the order correction to Newton potential because it involves a term
velocity of light in vacuum. G2 . We can associate a quantum electric field with the above
quantum potential on the electron by the formula Eq = −∇Vq
acting on all masses.
5 Gravito-Electric analogy and quantum potential cor-
The quantum electric field of the electron in hydrogen
atom associated with the potential in Eq.(8) is given by
Owing to the electromagnetic and gravitational analogy, we 6kh 1
developed recently, we would like to raise the following ques- Eq = . (32)
c r3
• Does an electron orbit (according to Bohr theory) pre- This quantum electric field amounts to
cess like the precession of planets, and if so with what
Eq = 8.02 × 102 V/m . (33)
• Is that frequency is the same as the Larmor precession? The electrical quantized potential in Eq.(31) contributes to the
• Can we rescue Bohr model as we are doing with New- electron at Bohr radius an energy of 2.12 × 10 J. To ap-
ton? preciate this finding, recently Nesvizhevsky et al. have cal-
culated the neutron’s ground state energy and wave function
in the Earth’s gravitational field and obtained a ground-state

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energy of 2.25 × 10−31 J [10, 11]. Their result shows an ev-

idence for quantized gravitational States of the Neutron. Be-
cause of the extra electric potential in Eq.(31), the electron
in an atom experiences an additional energy that is a result
of a quantum potential and not a manifestation of quantized
gravitational state. The difference in the two energy values
above could be attributed to the difference between the gravi-
tational acceleration and the above quantum electric field. Us-
ing perturbation theory, one can find the contribution (first
order correction) of the quantum potential in Eq(31) to the
ground state of the electron in hydrogen atom. This yields a
value of hVi0 = 4.24 × 10−30 J [12], whereas the Stark effect
contribution vanishes.


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