There can be no more clear definition of hoax than what went on in the Tropics back in May 29, 1919. What is particularly clear is that it is probable that Eddington fudged the data to make it conform to Einsteins work on general relativity. Let us address the issues set forth by G. Burniston Brown in What is wrong with relativity, also the highly detailed work by Paul Marmet called, Appendix II The Deflection of Light by the Suns Gravitational Field: An Analysis of the 1919 Solar Eclipse Expeditions Internet article and finally, the equally detailed work of P. Marnet and C. Couture called, Relativistic Deflection of Light Near the Sun Using Radio Signals and Visible Light and The Deflection of Light As Observed At Total Solar Eclipses by Charles Lane Poor.
The work of Poor is particularly disturbing for an ethical scientist. First, his summary from J. Opt. Soc. Amer (173-211), The mathmatical formula, by which Einstein calculated his deflection of 1.75 seconds for light rays passing the edge of the sum, is a well known and simple formula of physical optics. Not a single of the fundamental concepts of varying time, or warped or twisted space, of simultaneity, or of the relativity of motion is in any way involved in Einsteins prediction of, or formulas for the deflection of light (emphasis added). The many and elaborate eclipse expeditions have, therefore, been given a fictictious important. Their results can neither prove nor disprove the relativity theory.... (emphasis added)
From Brown we learn that Eddington couldnt wait to get out to the world community that Einsteins theory was confirmed. What Eddington based this on was a premature assessment of the photographic plates. Initially, stars did appear to bend as they should as required by Einstein, but then, according to Brown, the unexpected happened; several stars were then observed to bend in a direction transverse to the expected direction and still others bent in a direction opposite to that predicted by relativity (Brown). The utter absurdity of the data collected during the eclipse of 1919 was demonstrated by Poor (1930) who pointed out that 85% of the data was discarded from the South American eclipse due to accidental error i.e. it contradicted Einsteins scale constant. By a strange coincidence, the 15% of the good data was consistent with the Einsteins scale constant. Somehow, the stars that did not conform to Einsteins theories conveniently got temporarily shelved and the myth began. Even to this date, the discredited experiment by Eddington is still quoted as gospel by some writers (see David Levy in Parade Magazine, Summer of 2000). The real question though is, Where was Einstein in all this? Surely, he must have known of the work of Poor. Why didnt he go on the record and address a paper that directly contradicted his work? How much have the followers of Einstein tried to set the record straight with respect to the bogus data of 1919 and 1922?
What makes this so suspicious is that neither the instrumentation nor the physical conditions were conducive to make these measurements of such great precision i.e. on a good day with everything perfect as far as instruments and the weather both on earth and on the sun. For example, just the difference in temperature between day and night that day was way beyond the 10 degrees (75-97 degrees) that was the upper limit of range of permissible temperatures for the instruments. Add to this severe limitations imposed by the crude (compared to modern instruments) nature of the 4 object glass and the astrographic and the reliability of this primitive equipment. It appears that Eddington was claiming precisions of .02 of an arc when a more realistic precision due to the turbulence in the suns atmosphere was 2-3 arc (Marmet).
Here are some additional comments by people who have studied the whole question of the reliability of the 1919 expedition. Marmet and Couture (ibid.) state, This paper shows how all the experiments claiming the deflection of light and radio waves by the Sun are subjected to very large systematic errors, which render the results highly unreliable and apparently incorrect. Following those difficulties, and since it has also been demonstrated that the deflection of light by a gravitational potential is not compatible with the principle of mass-energy conservation, we show that no one can seriously claim that light is really deflected by the sun. Another comment, Rare is the night (at most sites) when any telescope, no matter how large its aperture or perfect its optics, can resolve details finer than 1 arc second. More typical at ordinary locations is 2- or 3-arc-second seeing or worse. (MacRobert). The problem becomes even worse during the afternoon due to the heat of the ground. (Marmet). The error caused by the atmospheric turbulence is large enough to refute any measurement of the so-called Einstein effect. (Marmet)
Other attempts to demonstrate relativistic delays based on other parameters fail miserably e.g. From Marmet and Couture, Consequently, due to the above uncertainties in the elements of orbits of the planets, the delay reported is meaningless and does not prove any fundamental agreement with general relativity. So, it appears, the apologists for Einstein once again have corrupted science, this time with both theory and experiments.
To any lay person watching the shimmering of heat waves off hot asphalt and the distortion of the points on the far side of the heat waves, the turbulence of the sun seems to represent a simple insurmountable barrier to the acquisition of highly precise data. It is clear from the outset that Eddington was in no way interested in testing Einsteins theory; he was only interested in confirming it. The obvious fudging of the data by Eddington and others is a blatant corruption of science, may have misdirected scientific research for the better part of a century and probably surpasses the Piltdown Man as the greatest hoax of all times.