The problem with astrophysical observations is that more than one theory can often fit the data and one can't change the experimental conditions to discriminate between them. Controllable experiments are preferable and one that I read about was the Tajmar experiment (Tajmar, 2009). In this experiment a ring made of various materials was put into a cryostat and cooled to 5 Kelvin. Laser gyroscopes to detect local accelerations were placed within a few cm of the ring but isolated from frictional contact. The ring was then rotated. The surprise was that the gyros accelerated very slightly in the same direction as the ring. The ratio between the acceleration of the ring and that of the gyros was 3±1.2x10^-8 for clockwise rotations of the ring, and half that for anticlockwise rotations (Tajmar, 2009). There is no explanation from standard physics for this 'dragging' effect, nor for the parity violation.
After a lot of thought and calculation, I found that these observations can be simply & exactly explained by MiHsC (see McCulloch, 2011) as follows. When the cryostat cools, the local mutual thermal accelerations decrease, so the only acceleration seen by the gyroscopes is that due to the fixed stars because they are fixed to the spinning Earth. This is a very small acceleration, so the Unruh waves the gyro sees are long and many are disallowed by MiHsC's Hubble-scale Casimir effect and the gyroscopes’ inertial mass decreases. When the ring is suddenly spun, this is a new large mutual acceleration, so now short Unruh waves are seen by the gyro, a greater proportion of them are allowed by the Hubble-scale Casimir effect so the inertial mass of the gyroscopes increases. To conserve the momentum of the combined gyro and ring system, the gyroscope has to move with the ring (momentum is mass*velocity, so if the mass of one component (the gyro) increases then the mutual velocity has to decrease). This predicts the observations exactly. MiHsC even predicts the parity asymmetry since when the ring moves clockwise, the gyros also move that way (by a third of the Earth’s rotation rate) so the apparent spin of the fixed stars is reduced by a third, and this increases the anomaly by the right amount. For anticlockwise rotations the opposite happens and the anomaly decreases. MiHsC predicts a coupling ratio of 2.67±0.24*10^-8 for clockwise rotations and 1.34±0.12*10^-8 for anticlockwise ones, in agreement with the observations. Unfortunately, Tajmar’s experiment has not been reproduced in another lab, but it is fairly clear that a reproduction of this experiment would be useful.
Specifically, MiHsC predicts that doing the experiment in the southern hemisphere should invert the parity asymmetry: the anticlockwise rotations should then have the larger effect. An attempt to reproduce one of Tajmar’s earlier experiments was made in New Zealand (Graham et al., 2008), but apparently the gyros were not sensitive enough so the results were inconclusive (there is some debate about that).
As I discussed in a previous blog (Beyond the Pail: Mach's Principle, July 2012) this particular prediction of MiHsC fits nicely with Mach's suggestion that "Inertia here is due to masses out there", ie the fixed stars.
Graham R.D., R.B.Hurst, R.J. Thirkettle, C.H. Rowe, P.H. Butler, 2008. Physica C, 468: 383.
Tajmar, M., F. Plesescu and B. Seifert, 2009. J. Phys. Conf. Ser., 150, 032101. Preprint.
McCulloch, M.E., 2011. The Tajmar effect from quantised inertia. EPL, 95, 39002. Preprint.