|GPS proves some absence of absolute is correct but Einstein wrong.
Don E. Sprague
Copyright 28 Nov 2010
It is understood that GPS uses sophisticated technique and formula to maintain clock synchronization. It is the worlds
best process for synchronizing frames and uses the Earth-centered inertial (ECI) reference frame as a single common
accepted constant time. Terrestrial Time with a coordinate second is the definition of time adopted by the International
Astronomical Union. The formula and values used in GPS are good but have problems because of many influencing
forces. Some but not all people think the formula have to do with or prove Einstein Relativity. There isn’t an issue about
the use of formula and values. The issue is the cause or reason the formula and values that are used. The Einstein
relativity influence is so small it isn’t addressed in GPS. When reading any paper about GPS and Einstein relativity, I
look for consistency and a real connection throughout the work. That has 2 aspects. There needs to be consistency
with Einstein Relativity and consistency in arguments in the paper. I also look for proof instead of simply mention of
Einstein as a claim of validity. The author can’t simply use the word like relativistic effects instead of saying variable.
Here is a pseudo connection between GPS and Einstein. In the paper:
The claim is made that the fundamental principle which make GPS work is constant speed of light as the second
postulate in Einstein relativity. However; the same paper says constant light doesn’t apply in rotating reference frame
because they have spiral light paths. The writer acknowledges that the earth is a rotating frame. Therefore, the writer
acknowledges that Einstein relativity second postulate about constant light isn’t applicable in GPS. The writer has a
consistency problem since the initial statement is shown to be is false and misleading by the writer’s own second
statement. The writer’s first claim of connection is refuted by the writer. Thus, Einstein relativity constant light doesn’t
apply in GPS. Clearly the paper is self contradictory. The paper simply gives excuses for the need for continual data
stream to synch clocks and mentions Einstein and stuff from his paper.
The impact of the writer’s two conflicting statements is significant. Inertial included uniform motion in a straight line.
Since the earth is both accelerating and rotating, it isn’t an inertial frame. There isn’t an inertial frame riding on the
earth accelerating and rotating frame. Therefore, every measurement of the speed of light on earth has been done on
a non-inertial frame. As a result, the speed of light has been shown to be constant in non-inertial frames but hasn’t
been shown to be constant in an inertial frame. Thus, Einstein’s accepted second postulate about light measured in any
inertial frame is always the same has never been tested. It has been shown that light is a good tool for measuring the
distance between 2 fixed points in constant space and Terrestrial Time as used in the GPS ECI.
Actually, the fundamental principle which makes GPS work is the tools and techniques to get closer to an ECI constant
time and constant space. The speed of light is very fast and it doesn’t have much variation induced by various forces.
That makes it a valuable part of GPS. The formula address clock and light variations caused by acceleration, rotation
and motion of things around the earth and it’s gravitational field and in the larger solar system and universe.
Relativity is the absence of absolute. Does the GPS, prove Einstein Relativity or absence of absolute time and space?
When addressing the question, it is important to consider the purpose of GPS and how it works. It is also necessary to
consider the purpose of Einstein Relativity and how it works.
The purpose of GPS is to precisely locate things in specific time. It works through a very well structured process using
precise tools to identify specific points in space at specific time. That means time and place are very important in GSP.
Absolute space and time are important to an accurate GPS. In the ECI, time and space is constant. Stuff moves in time
and space. The way it is in GPS is the way it is in Classical mechanics and ChR.
The purpose of Einstein Relativity is supposedly to address the interpretation that the speed of light is constant in
inertial frames and how that conflicts with constant time and space. Einstein relativity works through making time and
space variable. The way it is in Einstein relativity is the opposite to the way it is in the ECI of GPS.
There is an obvious conflict between the way the 2 work. How can a real life process that requires constant space and
time correlate with a theory that requires variable space and time? How can a real life thing that requires significant
precise detail data correlate with a theory that claims facts based on perception and very limited data?
Detail papers on GPS show that some formula or values work better than others. None of the GPS formula and values
prove Einstein correct. They all simply prove the formula and values work close enough for GPS but could be better. It
is easy to talk about Einstein relativity and GSP then give examples of both. Talking of both doesn’t make them the
same. It doesn’t mean one proves the other.
Likewise, my saying GPS doesn’t prove Einstein isn’t all it takes. Advocates and opponents must show a connection or
disconnect. Invoking the name of Einstein in a paper doesn’t make a connection. Talking about apples and horses
doesn’t make them the same. Talking of feeding apples to horses is a connection between the two.
Here is a disconnect between GPS and Einstein. System wide synchronized clocks using one common ECI time is
required to avoid navigation errors. GPS uses 24 active satellites and various ground components. Each is a different
Einstein frame of reference. Einstein says time and space is variable. GPS requires the same precise time and space
across all the 24 plus frames to avoid navigation errors. GPS requires frequent uploads of clock correction data to
maintain a common meaningful ECI time regardless of frame. Thus, GPS need for precise common meaningful time
across frames shows that Einstein variable time is wrong.
Here is another disconnect between Einstein and GPS. The ECI is a violation of Einstein’s frame neutrality when
considering his imaginary train experiment. However; since this is a discussion about showing a connection between
GPS and Einstein, the use of the ECI and GPS is made acceptable. You can’t exclude use of ECI and GPS when
claiming GPS proves Einstein.
The claim is made that in Earth's neighborhood, general relativity equations involve only one time variable. There are
billions of moving things on earth and around earth that comprise different moving frames of reference. Each applies
as an Einstein valid frame of reference with variable time. Each component in GPS is a separate neutral valid time
frame. It is true that Einstein allows arbitrary or whimsical substitutions. The claim is made that the establishment of the
ECI is whimsical instead of being a well considered thoughtful approach. To chose the center of the earth mass with
the axis pointing toward stellar locations is a logical fundamental part of GPS. It is claimed that ECI allows one to ignore
relativistic effects. To ignored variables is to induce errors. So a claim is made that GPS proves Einstein then the
same people say the relativistic effect can be ignored. That means the proof can be ignored. Either it doesn’t apply
and can be ignored or it does apply so it can’t be ignored.
We conduct a repeat of Einstein’s train experiment. Since Einstein is supposedly proven by GPS, we can use GPS in
his train experiment. I shouldn’t need to say more because the outcome should be obvious. However; we proceed, for
the benefit of the well trained and the learners.
We give GPS to the 2 people in Einstein’s imaginary train experiment. Then we complete the test and ask
both people 2 questions:
- When does light from A and B in the ECI arrive at the 2 observers?
- Is the train moving in the ECI or is the ECI moving under the train?
- Both observers say the light arrives simultaneous. That is because the train observer can’t possibly observer a
different arrival time. The train passenger couldn’t move fast enough or far enough away from the midpoint to be able
to observe a different arrival time. For the lights to be close enough to be observed by the naked eye, the train
passenger couldn’t move more than a very small fraction of an inch from the midpoint even if he was going several
hundred million mph. The train passenger would have to move many yards away to possibly observer a difference.
- Both observers with GPS would say the train is moving. Since Einstein’s theory promotes the use of arbitrary or
whimsical substitution of frames of reference and that use of substitution is employed in the fundamental design of
GPS, then the observers have the Einstein approved whimsical choice of using GPS or not using GPS. Instead of
whimsically choosing the ground and the train as frames of reference where they have no information, they make a
ChR defined thoughtful, considered logical choice of using the GPS tool. With the aid of the tool’s information, both
observers use the same ECI as specified to make GPS work. Both users find that the GPS shows the train is moving.
Thus, GPS proves the train is moving. It also shows that frame neutrality is wrong. As a simple result, GPS
proves Einstein wrong.
In the example, I show a connection to GPS and Einstein. I use the data from one with the other. Since Einstein has
almost no data but GPS has significant data, the additional data easily overrides the lack of information in Einstein.
The shelter of frame neutrality is voided by the use of GPS and it’s ECI. The claim that GPS proves Einstein enables or
actually requires the use of GPS and the ECI by both observers. GPS refutes frame neutrality. GPS acknowledges the
hierarchy of frames. The earth is the ECI. The GPS and moving users of GPS are passenger frames to the ECI parent
earth frame. Thus, GPS supports or proves Classical Mechanics and ChR is correct.
Consider a recent article headline that says some engineers built a paper airplane that takes pictures from space.
Down in the article, it includes the information about the paper airplane being attached to a balloon. Thus, the pictures
were taken by cameras taken aloft by a balloon and the engineers had a paper airplane attached. The headline could
have said rock takes pictured from space if the engineers had attached a rock instead of an airplane. The headline for
Einstein relativity could accurately say, person without information proves simultaneous isn’t simultaneous by being
uninformed. We know that Einstein talks of time dilation and clocks showing different time based on motion of the clock.
We also know that GPS addresses the need for clock synchronization as a a result of clocks showing different time.
The fact that both have clock changes doesn’t make one prove the other. The formula used in GPS address much
more than simple Einstein clock change and supposed time dilation. According to papers by experts on GSP, the
formula don’t really address Einstein relativity changes. The formula address other influences.
A reversed engineer formula that is good enough to give the a close to accurate results isn’t proof of something else.
It just proves that a reverse engineered formula or values address clock error good enough.
The claim is made that Einstein allows the construction of a consistent spacetime coordinate system that consists of the
ECI and the GPS. That the claim is that the ECI is used as the proper constant time as if it were an at rest clock on
earth. That is supposed support that Einstein variable time is valid. One proper ECI Terrestrial time goes completely
against Einstein variable time based on velocity with time elongating in the direction of travel of the 24 satellites and
other GPS separate valid time frames.
The claim is made that Einstein allows other solar bodies effect to be ignored because the writer mentions Einstein
equivalence principle where a person doesn’t know they are in an accelerating box so the acceleration is gravity. Then
the same paragraph says the GPS clock change due to the Moon and Sun amount to less than a part in 10 and are
ignored, but they do have a significant effect on satellite orbits. That paragraph is extremely inconsistent. The gravity
that isn’t acceleration can be ignored because Einstein allows it to be ignored but the ignored variable does cause
change in orbits even thought it is ignored. GIGO is Garbage In Garbage Out. One paper I analyzed says close
enough is good enough for government work. That statement and the statement about ignoring other stellar bodies
known influence is GIGO. However; it is consistent with Einstein GIGO of people not knowing they are moving so they
Typical depictions of light in a clock has a straight line up and down for a pseudo inertial frame. That is a frame that is
only imagined to be moving with constant velocity in a straight line. Since an inertial frame hasn’t been shown to exist, it
is pseudo. In this pseudo or hypothetical inertial frame, the light in a clock is typically shown as a straight line up and
down. The depiction for a clock in a moving frame is shown as an angle up then an angle down. More velocity
supposedly gives more of an angle for the lines. This conflicts with all experimental data. The data shows a straight line
or very close to straight line up and down regardless of the velocity as long as it is very close to constant velocity with
little acceleration. Think of two frame going different constant velocity. Both have the clock light lines going straight up
and down. Accelerate either frames results in angular lines for the clock light. Thus, it is clear that acceleration causes
the clock lines to change from straight to angle. Since the clock line is straight up and down with constant velocity, and
angle with acceleration, then the supposed time dilation isn’t from velocity difference but is with simple acceleration. It
isn’t time dilation. It is clock error or drift as a result of acceleration.
Einstein says time dilation is a result of velocity. Compound frame velocity is greater than just one frame’s velocity. If
Einstein relativity is correct that the clock light line angle is greater based on velocity, then the entire velocity impacts
the time/clock drift. In the GPS papers, the earth rotation is considered. We know from the ECI stellar data that the
earth is moving around the sun and the sun is moving in galaxy and so on. That means the total velocity of the earth
must be used to show the light angles in the clocks. Since the total earth velocity continually changes throughout the
day and year and centuries, the various time dilation is always changing. That means, the total earth motion through
space must be included in the supposed time dilation or clock drift. The GPS discussion are limited to the earth as an
ECI or frame. That shows that velocity isn’t the cause of the clock drift. It is acceleration that causes clock drift. That is
as it in Classical Mechanics and ChR.
Consider a person or machine balancing a stick straight up. The stick has a clock on top. As long as the stick is
straight up, the clock is accurate. If the stick is slightly tilted, the clock has a slight drift. More stick tilt causes more
clock drift. Regardless of the velocity, as long as the person is not accelerating, the task is comparatively simple. Now
consider the person is accelerating. The task of keeping the stick straight up is impossible. The velocity doesn’t cause
stick tilt and clock error. Acceleration is the cause. This shows Einstein is wrong about velocity causing clock drift. A
formula to address the clock drift on a stick isn’t a formula that proves Einstein time dilation. It is simply a formula that
addresses the amount of clock drift caused by stick tilt caused by acceleration. The bottom line, Einstein relative says
motion causes time change. GhR. says acceleration causes clock drift.
The GPS Operational Control System does NOT include rigorous transformations frames that Einstein relativity requires
because any differences from classical mechanics are too small to matter. That is basically what is said in the GPS
AND RELATIVITY: AN ENGINEERING OVERVIEW: http://tycho.usno.navy.mil/ptti/1996/Vol%2028_16.pdf
They describe the lack of Einstein relativistic influence just after a paragraph that says they explain the detail formula to
correct for the relativistic effect in GPS. It sure seems that the two beginning paragraphs are contradictory with one
canceling out the other. They follow with comment about comparing Einstein relativity predictions against intuitive,
classical, Newtonian physics.
Their first comparison uses the Lorentz imaginary dual shrinkage of space and expansion of time. The example doesn’t
apply so the logic is faulty. Lorentz provides a shrinking ladder that fits in a shrinking garage that is too small for the
ladder. Lorentz claims that the ladder mathematically shrinks as observed by the garage and the garage
mathematically shrinks as observed by the ladder. Thus, both simultaneously mathematically shrink equal and opposite
amounts so we logically know there isn’t any real shrinkage. The same applies to expanding time. Both are
mathematical errors. The problem is bigger than just the mathematical error. Einstein relativistic effect is with regard to
an inertial frame. The earth isn’t an inertial frame. It is rotating and continually accelerating. Further, the ECI
eliminates the supposition frame neutrality. The goal of GPS it to eliminate the ignorance of the users so they know
how much each is moving as compared to the ECI accepted approved time. Finally, the issues they say they deal with
is the motion with respect to two observers, their altitude and their acceleration.
In reality, the issues are the acceleration and gravitational influences of all components as compared to the ECI.
Perhaps the biggest issue is the continual variations in amount of acceleration.
The article describes Einstein type hypothetical scenarios about difference time and space for objects. Then the article
says how they use real life processes to determine difference in time and space for objects. Then they say GPS work
in time and not frequency so they handle acceleration, velocity and gravity differently. That is, they toss in fog before
the reality. Then they say they apply certain values in the formula and it is close enough but could be better.
They follow with explanation of disagreements for over 15 years. They justify use of approximations instead of rigorous
use of Einstein relativity. They talk of the pseudo-range measurement. That is obtained by multiplying the speed of
light by the time the signal takes from satellite to receiver. Since there are errors in the time measured, the term pseudo-
ranges is used instead of ranges for the distances. It says it is close enough for government work. They say they use
Newtonian physics. They say Einstein relativity that isn’t uses is more nearly correct. They describe an Einstein
relativity process that they say would clearly be a major source of error in the OCS if they didn’t use the ECI time.
Then they say they don’t use the Einstein approach. We read about how Einstein is supposedly more accurate but in
reality is less accurate so they stick with the Classical Mechanics approach.
They say in principle critics of GPS in relativity aren’t completely wrong. They have it backwards. The critics of the
supposed use of Einstein relativity in GPS are correct. The supporters of the Einstein relativity in GPS are wrong
because Einstein isn’t used in GPS. It is specifically excluded from use in GPS. The examples and words about
Einstein relativity are used in pseudo scenarios but not used in the real formula.
They talk of the ECI time and the Terrestrial Time and why it is used. Then they talk about another adopted time that is
based on a non-rotating frame. That is a frame that is pseudo stationary as Einstein imagines. They explain the errors
that process has. They say they don’t use that approach. Thus, they use stellar time with the earth as a moving frame
that goes against Einstein. They don’t use whimsical pseudo stationary frames as Einstein specifies. Again, the
supporters of the Einstein relativity in GPS are wrong because Einstein isn’t used in GPS.
The Sagnac effect is a problem for GPS. A rotating disk with mirrors and light show different arrival of light based on
the direction of the disk rotation. An analogy would be an imaginary base ball and a bat. The imaginary ball is thrown at
100 mph then bounces or ricochets at 100 mph. Consider a bat is simply held above the front line on home plate, the
ball can be tossed and the ball will bounce back at 100 mph. Another time, the batter swings 1 mph and the ball
bounces back at 100 mph. Now consider that the ball is thrown again at 100 mph and the batter swings backwards at 1
mph. With the stationary bat, the velocities are 100 + 0 = 100 mph. With the normal swing bat, the velocities are 100 +
1 = 101 mph. With the reverse swing bat, the velocities are 100 - 1 = 99 mph. The velocities are basically to
demonstrate the combined motion at impact. The ball speed is constant at 100 mph regardless. In the Sagnac effect,
the normal swing arrives at the batter first, the ball from the stationary bat arrives second, the reverse ball from the
reverse swing bat arrives third. In all cases, the ball speed is 100 mph to the bat and 100 mph from the bat. The issue
is the reality of the Sagnac effect that is simulated in the analogy. An explanation could be associated with turnaround
and compression. In all three cases, the ball and the bat come in contact at the same place. A variable is the duration
of time and location they remain in contact along with the compression or distance change for when the aren’t in
contact any longer. The normal swing bat moves toward the pitcher so the ball compression location and space
shrinks. Also, the point they no longer remain in contact has moved toward the pitcher. With the bat moving away from
the pitcher, the compression is delayed resulting in a delayed bounce or ricochet. Thus, the distance for the ball to
travel is different for all three times the ball is thrown. The moved departure point makes a different total travel distance.
Thus, a different travel time.
The claim is made that the Sagnac effect is less in space. The number of bounces and the velocity of the compression
space impacts the overall effect. In space, the velocity of the compression space is greater resulting in quicker
turnaround. Another issue is that there can be significantly fewer bounces in space.
Everything in GPS is to get closer to constant time and space. Articles describe Einstein type theory separate from
GPS reality. Then they use the term relativistic effect when variable could be said. GPS uses Classical Mechanics.
The claim is made that Einstein relativity is more accurate but the real life situations described in the articles show that it
is less accurate. GPS does use detail technique and formula to maintain clock synchronization. It uses a single
preferential frame known as the Earth-centered inertial (ECI) reference frame and constant Terrestrial Time. The
formula and values are good but have problems.
Everything is based on the constant time and space in the ECI. The acceleration, motion and gravity induced variability
of clocks and light is addresses with the formula and technique to restore the clocks to the constant Terrestrial Time.
Copyright Don Edward Sprague. All rights reserved.