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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Dr Russell Smith

Collett, Thomas E., Oldham, Lindsay J., Smith, Russell J., Auger, Matthew W., Westfall, Kyle B., Bacon, David, Nichol, Robert C., Masters, Karen L., Koyama, Kazuya & van den Bosch, Remco (2018). A precise extragalactic test of General Relativity. Science 360(6395): 1342-1346.

Author(s) from Durham


Einstein’s theory of gravity, General Relativity, has been precisely tested on Solar System scales, but the long-range nature of gravity is still poorly constrained. The nearby strong gravitational lens ESO 325-G004 provides a laboratory to probe the weak-field regime of gravity and measure the spatial curvature generated per unit mass, γ. By reconstructing the observed light profile of the lensed arcs and the observed spatially resolved stellar kinematics with a single self-consistent model, we conclude that γ = 0.97 ± 0.09 at 68% confidence. Our result is consistent with the prediction of 1 from General Relativity and provides a strong extragalactic constraint on the weak-field metric of gravity.