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Fri, 30 Jan 2009
The earth is constantly moving. It rotates around its axis, it orbits the sun. The sun, in turn moves around the galaxy, which moves relative to the Local Group of galaxies, which in turn is moving relative the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), the echo of the Big Bang, or rather the aftermath of the Big Bang that has reached us so far.
But just like a stopped clock is right twice a day, all this motion in all directions cancels itself out twice a year, around the time of the equinox, on two spots on the Earth's surface. The location and dates of these spots were calculated by Alex Ignatiev, who calls them SHLEM spots (static high latitude equinox modified inertia). So if you want to know what it feels like to be standing still relative to the modern version of Michelson and Morley's "aether", just show up at one of these locations. Just for fun, I made a map of the SHLEM spots from Ignatiev's paper. Click the marker for the date and time.
What will it feel like? Cold! You will notice that they are all in the high arctic or antarctic. From a physics point of view, these spots can be used for experiments to test new theories that predict small deviations from Newton's second law. One of them is MOND (Modified Newtonian Dynamics) modified inertia that Ignatiev talks about, the other being Modified Gravity as predicted in the latest paper by John Moffatt and Viktor Toth . If they are correct, we would have to change our view of what the universe is made of, getting rid of most of the dark matter.
It may be cold, but it's not every day you get to see Newton's second law violated with impunity.