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Abstract

The general theory of relativity claims that the excess of precession of the planetary orbits has its origin in the curvature of space-time produced by the Sun in its near vicinity. In general relativity, gravity is thought to be a measure of the curvature of spacetime when matter is present. By arguing that free falling particles follow geodesies inside gravitational fields, Schwarzschild's solution to Einstein's field equations explains that when space-time is approximately flat (weak aravitational pull of the Sun), the planetary orbits describe minute precessions which, for Mercury, agrees well with observation. This brief paper explains, first by elaborating on pure special relativity arguments, and second, by considering another solution to Newton's gravitational law, that Mercury's orbital precession does not necessarily demonstrate the unique validity of general relativity.

Keywords

Precession, Mercury, perihelion

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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