Einstein has published four papers on the general theory of relativity. In the third paper, he used general relativity to explain why Mercury’s closest point to the Sun (its perihelion) is erratic.

Gravitational influence of the Sun and other planets was not sufficient explanation for this movement. Some even went as far as to suggest in the 19th century that a new planet, Vulcan, orbiting close to the Sun was the reason! But this was disproved as Einstein succeeded in calculating the shift in Mercury’s perihelion using the general theory of relativity.

The theory not only explained previously unexplained phenomena, it could even predict events that have not occurred yet. In 1919, the theory was validated again when Sir Arthur Eddington, secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society of London travelled to the island of Principe off the coast of West Africa. There, he had the perfect view of the Sun during a total eclipse.

The light emitted from a certain strand was measured and it was found that the light was deflected, or bent, by just the amount that Einstein had predicted. Einstein’s fame skyrocketed after this.

Picture Credit : Google