Nowadays we have incredibly sensitive interferometers in the form of the LIGO detectors.

I am curious to know if anyone has ever repeated the Michelson-Morley experiment in the last couple of decades with an upgraded experimental setup - lasers, vibration damping, temperature compensation, and so on.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I think that the enormous number of experiments in particle physics continually validate special relativity and there is really no reason to go into the systematics of interferometry $\endgroup$
    – anna v
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 12:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If there was an aether, then LIGO would not work as it does. Consider LIGO a giant Michelson-Morley experiment all by itself. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 13:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Jon LIGO couldn't be used as the Michelson-Morley experiment because one has to rotate the arms to prove or disprove the influence of the earths movement through aether. But it would be interesting to carry out this experiment on a satellite. There is less gravitational influence from the earths matter and higher speed 90min for a rotation to the 24h). $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 14:37
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @HolgerFiedler The Earth (a) spins and (b) moves in different directions over the course of the year. It is exactly the same experiment on a multi-kilometer scale. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ @dmckee Think about how to they try to detect the aether. "The mercury trough allowed the device to turn with close to zero friction, so that once having given the sandstone block a single push it would slowly rotate through the entire range of possible angles to the "aether wind," while measurements were continuously observed" (wiki)[en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelson–Morley_experiment]. Rotating the interferometer one should (if exist) the aether wind. Instead of this rotation it would be nice to use the satellites rotation and this far away from the earth. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 19:01

1 Answer 1


Yes, in the recent couple of decades there have been at least several experiments which could be considered variations of the Michelson-Morley setup. A few examples: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Wiki actually has even more links.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.