Replicating the Kehr Experiments
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)
General Information For Everyone
Replicating my two types of experiments is actually quite simple, however, there are some very important things that must be done right or the experiment will fail.
This experiment can be done with a laser or a telescope, but do not use both for safety reasons. The key to a successful experiment is to understand the importance of the stability of the platform the laser or telescope and mirrors are on. The stability of the target is far less significant, though not even this can be totally ignored. Instability of the platform the laser or telescope is on can be caused by using a table or tripod with any wood in it (because wood slowly compresses when it has weight on it), by putting the table or tripod on a surface that is not absolutely stable (such as on an asphalt road during the day), by doing the experiment in an environment that does not have overall stability (such as inside a high rise building), etc.
For example, in our early experiments the laser was bolted to a wooden table. We placed a concrete block above each wooden table leg to stabilize it and compress the wooden legs. In doing a 72-hour experiment, it was clear that the wood did not completely compress during the first 48 hours. It was only during the third day that we got any kind of stability in our beam. At the time we did not know just how sensitive the experiment was to stability issues, nor did I know I should have been looking for a dot.
As another example, in two of our outdoor laser experiments we placed the laser table on an asphalt road. Unknown to us at the time is that asphalt expands when it gets cold (sic) and contracts when it gets hot (sic). Plus the wood table the laser was sitting on compressed during the experiment.
Likewise, the first telescope tripod we used was a wooden tripod. The wood on the tripod compressed during the 24 hours, thus throwing off the experiment.
Also, during our earliest telescope experiments, the telescope was placed on carpet (sic). With hindsight, the carpet obviously compressed during the experiment. (Dare I admit that for one experiment I taped a telescope to a file cabinet and had a thick pile of paper between the telescope and the metal file cabinet?)
Another problem with the telescope experiment was the tripod head. During one experiment there was torque in the head of a metal tripod, and this torque released during the experiment, throwing off our measurements.
In another case the telescope was not balanced properly on the tripod head and this caused the telescope to drop ever so slightly during the experiment.
In another case, the telescope was placed on a concrete floor (wrapped around a weight bearing post) on the third floor of a nine-story building. I didn't know that the sun and outside temperatures caused the entire building to twist and move up and down slightly over the 24-hour period. Furthermore, tall buildings are designed to bend with the wind.
In short, we made a lot of mistakes before we figured out how to get the incredible stability we needed for the laser or telescope and mirrors.
It is clear that the laser or telescope must be put on a steel tripod or steel table or concrete block. But even that is not enough. The tripod, table or block must be sitting on a concrete or rock foundation. The entire experiment must be done underground or on the first floor of a one-story building. But even that is not enough. If it is sitting on concrete, the concrete must be right next to a weight bearing wall or the concrete must be poured directly on top of the ground. The reason it really should be underground has to do with the necessary constant temperature of the air and floor and the temperature of the tripod. A stable temperature, stable equipment and stable ground are absolutely required. There is simply no way that the experiment can be done outdoors because of temperature fluctuations. The ideal location would be deep inside of a cave, where there are rock foundations that each piece of equipment can be placed on.
It is clear than everything associated with the table or tripod has to be metal or concrete. Everything has to be perfectly balanced, it has to be locked down tight, and cannot have any torque. Everything involved with the experiment must be placed on weight bearing concrete (no air space can be beneath the concrete) or solid rock. As I said, the experiment ideally should be underground or in a large one-story building.
The target does not need that kind of stability, although I would put the target on a concrete floor (it does not need to be near a weight bearing wall or be concrete poured on dirt).
If using mirrors, the mirrors should have virtually the same stability as the telescope or lasers. It is critical that the mirrors to not tilt or twist during the experiment.
Photographing the experiment with a web cam, digital video recorder, etc. is critical, unless someone wants to baby-sit the experiment all night long and physically put a dot on the target each hour. Fortunately, web cams are almost ubiquitous. Likewise, personal computers are ubiquitous. The problem with web cams is that even a low powered laser beam will saturate the image, making it white and the image may even blur the entire screen. When using a helium-neon laser, there is no way I could have used a web cam. Even when using a red-beamed Torpedo Laser-Level the image came out white.
For High School and College Undergraduates
When I first requested funding in 1997 I asked for $16,000 for a telescope, camera, tape recorder, etc. In 1998, when I asked for funding again, I asked for $4,000 for a helium-neon laser, several wooden targets, labor to build the very special targets, and other things. Today, my experiment can be done with a budget of about $100, excluding any web cam or computer.
The laser that is needed is called a "Torpedo Laser Level," or something akin to one. It is used in construction as a very long bubble level. These can be purchased from a company such as "Calpac Lasers" (http://www.calpaclasers.com/) or at a large hardware store. The mirrors are called "Elliptical Flat Secondary Mirrors" and are used to build telescopes. They can be purchased from a company like "Orion Telescopes and Binoculars" at: http://www.telescope.com/. The laser should cost about $60.00 and each mirror should cost about $10.00. The metal box that the mirrors are put outside of are standard electrical boxes.
My Torpedo Laser Level worked at home during a 48 hour test. But when we went to an experiment site it died after 14 hours. I still don't know if it died because of the power converter. I strongly suggest buying the very inexpensive ($12 or so) power supply or adapter from the same company the laser is purchased from. That way if there is a problem there is only one place to go.
For Graduate Students and Professionals (Very High Precision)
A telescope is better than a laser, in fact don't even consider a laser. This is because a telescope of sufficient magnification can see a pinhole at several hundred feet. But a laser beam expands (i.e. beam divergence), even with a collimator. But in any case, it is always difficult to measure where the center of a laser beam is.
The target for the telescope should be grid paper, or some other type of paper with lines that can be easily seen and are pre-measured. You essentially pick a point on the grid paper and zoom in on that point. Using telescopes, the movement that point (on the CCD image) during the experiment is what you are looking for. The point on the target must be recorded by a CCD camera.
The last experiment we did with a telescope used an 8" f10 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with a 2X Barlow and a CCD camera. The experiment was done about 15 feet underground and measurements were taken every 15 minutes. At 300' the maximum point movement was less than 1/20th of an inch. No pattern was detected at that magnification, all motion was random. Part of the movement may have been caused by one of the tripod legs being a couple of feet away from the weight bearing post and thus this leg moved slightly up and down with the concrete floor during the experiment. In fact all of the movement of the point in this experiment may have been because of this.
I think the next level of equipment from what I have used would be a 12" f15 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with a 5X Barlow. This equipment would require a very high resolution, high quality CCD camera. I would not have any people in the section of the cave or mine where the experiment was being conducted because of body heat and breath heat. Furthermore I would let the equipment and temperature stabilize for two days before beginning the experiment. The experiment would last several days to establish the consistency of any pattern. I would light the target with light that generates very low heat. In fact, instead of using grid paper you might want to consider using LED lights.
If the experiment must be outdoors, astronomers have considerable experience in the subject of concrete bases. Field geologists can also add valuable input. Clearly, some very deep concrete or rock section must be found. The concrete or rock must in the shade all day long and every attempt must be made to keep the temperature stable around the telescope (this would require heat and air conditioning inside of a tent or building with the telescope pointed out of a door or open window).
The paradox is that the more powerful the telescope, the more stable the floor and equipment need to be! It would do no good to get a huge telescope if it is not going to have a massively strong base, put on a rock floor hundreds of feet underground, where the temperature is very stable for days or thousands of years at a time.
In doing this experiment there should never be any pattern because of ether drag. This is because the vector of the line between the telescope and target are constant relative to the rotation of the earth underneath the ether drag. The amount of sensitivity needed is far to great to try and rotate the equipment on a platform.