Are OPERA neutrinos faster than light because of non-inertial reference frames?

with 3 comments

Distribution of timing corrections. Top: Distribution calculated over a typical OPERA run (April to November 2010). It would imply an overall miss-synchronization of ∼ -80 ns. Middle: Distribution over an entire year. Bottom: Distribution from January 1 to March 31. It would imply an overall miss-synchronization of ∼ +50 ns.

Claudio Germana
Recent results from the OPERA experiment reported a neutrino beam traveling faster than light.
The experiment measured the neutrino time of flight (TOF) over a baseline from the CERN to the Gran Sasso site.
The neutrino beam arrives 60 ns earlier than a light ray would do.
Because the result has an enormous impact on science, it might be worth double-checking the time definitions with respect to the non-inertial system in which the neutrino travel time was measured.
Potential problems in the OPERA data analysis connected with the definition of the reference frame and time synchronization are emphasized. We aim to investigate the synchronization of non-inertial clocks on Earth by relating this time to the proper time of an inertial observer at Solar System Barycenter(SSB).
The Tempo2 software was used to time-stamp events observed on the geoid with respect to the SSB inertial observer time. Neutrino results from OPERA might carry the fingerprint of non-inertial effects.
The CERN-Gran Sasso clock synchronization is accomplished by applying corrections that depend on special and general relativistic time dilation effects at the clocks, depending on the position of the clocks in the solar system gravitational well.
As a consequence, TOF distributions are centered on values shorter by tens of ns than expected, integrating over a period from April to December, longer if otherwise.
It is worth remarking that the OPERA runs have always been carried out from April/May to November.
If the analysis by Tempo2 holds for the OPERA experiment, the excellent measurement by the OPERA collaboration will turn into a proof of the General Relativity theory in a weak field approximation.
The analysis presented here is falsifiable because it predicts that performing the experiment from January to March/April, the neutrino beam will be detected to arrive 50 ns later than light.
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Written by physicsgg

January 22, 2012 at 10:07 am

3 Responses

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  1. Why there is no any comments? That publication is on Internet since one week and it still appears to be invisible.

    Antony Kolarov

    January 25, 2012 at 5:56 am

  2. OK, then: this is the sort of thing that physicists should have thought about weeks ago! BTW, time standards are very problematic on rotating systems. If you try to follow the usual Einstein convention, the simultaneity differences compared to lab frame have a mismatch at some point, like the International Date Line on Earth. But if you follow a universal standard (same as lab frame) then physical differences aren’t as we expect. In any case, the definition of “superluminal” should be based on literal comparison to co-moving photons (same path not necessarily actually moving along at same time.) Then it’s a matter of ratio and ironically, all these perplexities about the “correct” frame and standard etc. don’t really matter – am I right?

    “Fine minds make fine distinctions.”

    Neil Bates

    January 27, 2012 at 10:32 pm

  3. I would expect scientists to say “Oh, god he is right! That totally debunks the FTL neutrino!”. Or present some arguments against. But that silence is quite strange!

    Antony Kolarov

    January 28, 2012 at 12:34 pm

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