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Possible slip by Einstein could jar gravity studies

Albert Einstein goofed. So says a team of astrophysicists at the University of Arizona which claims his general theory of relativity is off about 1 percent because the sun is not a perfect sphere.

If the findings are confirmed, they could cause the physics of gravity to be rewritten, researchers Henry A. Hill and Philip Goode told the Arizona Republic.

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Einstein based his law of gravity on a peculiarity in the path the planet Mercury takes around the sun, which he attributed to the influence of the sun's gravitational field, and his calculations were based on the assumption the sun is a uniform sphere. The research team, working with a special solar telescope, determined the sun is flat at the poles and broad in the middle.