A theory that describes how matter interacts dynamically with the geometry of space and time. It was first published by Einstein in 1915 and is currently used to study the structure and evolution of the universe, as well as having practical applications like GPS.

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When a variation of a tensor is not a tensor?

In a comment about variation of metric tensor it was shown that $$\delta g_{\mu\nu}=-g_{\mu\rho}g_{\nu\,\sigma}\delta g^{\rho\,\sigma}$$ which is contrary to the usual rule of lowering indeces of a ...
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168 views

Why don't orbits expand with the Universe?

Consider two bodies orbiting each other. As the Universe expands would the distance between them increase? Most people say that a gravitationally bound system will not expand with the Universe. They ...
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2k views

Flow of momentum is pressure

In the diagonal terms of the energy-momentum tensor, the flow of $x$-momentum in the $x$-direction is the $x$-pressure. Why the flow of momentum is pressure?
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439 views

Does the current acceleration of universe imply that our universe is open?

Does the current acceleration of universe imply that our universe is open? If the universe is closed, from the Friedmann's equation, the acceleration of universe wouldn't be possible, would it be? (Of ...
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306 views

What is a black hole?

Is there a definition of a black hole in a generic spacetime? In some books, for example Wald's, black holes are defined for asymptotically flat spacetime with strong asymptotic predictability, ...
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610 views

Positive Mass Theorem and Geodesic Deviation

This is a thought I had a while ago, and I was wondering if it was satisfactory as a physicist's proof of the positive mass theorem. The positive mass theorem was proven by Schoen and Yau using ...
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268 views

Taking selfies while falling, would you be able to notice a horizon before hitting a singularity?

I am generally interested in the role of "pings"(0a) between participants (a.k.a. "signal roundtrips"(0b), as familiar for instance from Synge's "five point curvature detector") in the determination ...
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377 views

Age of the universe and the singularity at the Big Bang

Using the standard model of cosmology we calculate the Hubble time to obtain an estimate of the age of the universe. This model assumes a beginning of time in the past. But that point is a true ...
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2answers
151 views

What is the mathematical nature of the stress-momentum-energy tensor?

I am confused about the Einstein Field Equations. Specifically, consider \begin{equation} \text{R}_{ab} - \frac{1}{2} \text{R} g_{ab} =\frac{8\pi G}{c^4}\text{ T}_{ab} \end{equation} I understand ...
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183 views

I need help understanding a step in the derivation of the Schwarzschild solution

I am looking at Wikipedia's article on deriving the Schwarzschild solution. In the section "Simplifying the components", it says, On the hypersurfaces of constant $t$ and constant $r$, it is ...
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226 views

Why is there a gravitational attraction between two objects at rest with respect to each other?

From my understanding of relativity, gravity is not a force, but a result of the curvature of spacetime. If Object1 moves past Object2, even though it's moving in a straight line, its direction may ...
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216 views

Does the curvature of space-time cause objects to look smaller than they really are?

What's the difference between looking at a star from a black hole and looking at it from empty space? My guess is that the curvature of space-time distorts the wavelength of light thus changing the ...
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149 views

Flat space metrics

This question concerns the metric of a flat space: $$ds^2=dr^2+cr^2\,\,d\theta^2$$ where $c$ is a constant. Why is it necessary to set $c=1$ to avoid singularities and to restrict $r\ge 0$? Thanks.
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228 views

What's the deal with the gyroscope?

In this article ("The problem with physics", Tony Rothman, ABC science) the author says in the 5$^\textrm{th}$ paragraph: For example, one needs only first-semester equations to describe ...
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3answers
685 views

Action for a point particle in a curved spacetime

Is this action for a point particle in a curved spacetime correct? $$\mathcal S =-Mc \int ds = -Mc \int_{\xi_0}^{\xi_1}\sqrt{g_{\mu\nu}(x)\frac{dx^\mu(\xi)}{d\xi} \frac{dx^\nu(\xi)}{d\xi}} \ \ d\xi$$
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299 views

Are “typical” black holes rotating, or stationary?

From my (somewhat limited) understanding of GR I know that there are two different kinds of solutions that produce a black hole, some that rotate and some that do not. What I can't figure out from my ...
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157 views

Effect of gravity at near-lightspeeds

Let's say I'm in a space station, hurtling towards our galaxy nearly close to the speed of light. From my reference frame, I see the galaxy coming towards my ship at the same speed. I pass the Sun, ...
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690 views

What is the inertial frame that explains the Foucault Pendulum?

I know that the Foucault pendulum rotation in relation to Earth is a proof that the object is inertial in relation to the distant stars. But what makes them more important than the Earth? Are they an ...
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751 views

what is the difference between a blackhole and a point particle

Theoretically, What is the difference between a black hole and a point particle of certain nonzero mass. Of-course the former exists while its not clear whether the later exists or not, but both have ...
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874 views

Black Hole Singularity and String Theory

This question arises in a somewhat naive form because I am largely unfamiliar with String Theory. I do know that it incorporates higher space dimensions where I shall take the overall dimensionality ...
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63 views

Can you recover a spacetime from its null geodesics?

So, I know that you can learn a lot about a spacetime from its causal structure, but can one completely recover the metric of a spacetime, just knowing the equations for the null geodesics in it? If ...
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2answers
147 views

Speed of light and warp drives in general relativity

Velocities can be a tricky thing in general relativity. A cool concept seemly consistent with the Einstein field equations) is an Alcubierre drive, described by the Alcubierre metric. However, I ...
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398 views

Which of these two textbook equations of geodesic deviation is correct?

My previous question Geodesic deviation on a 2-sphere - is this the right track? got shot down as “off topic”, so I'm having a second stab at it. Misner et al's Gravitation (p34) gives the geodesic ...
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211 views

Huygen's principle in curved spacetimes

Does Huygen's principle hold in even dimensional (2m+1,1) curved spacetimes, or are there certain necessary conditions for it to hold? In other words, if I have Cauchy data for a field satisfying the ...
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162 views

Where are the time dilatational effects of orbital motion and gravitational acceleration equal?

Nearly four years ago, upon hearing of the observation of time dilation in two optical atomic clocks at an elevation one metre apart, due to acceleration towards earths centre of gravity by Chou, C. ...
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175 views

Do alternate theories for Dark Matter (like MOND) explain it's effect on gravitational lensing?

For a long time, I was sceptical about the evidence for dark matter. To me, it seemed like a pretty big leap to make when we have no idea whether or not our current models of gravity should apply ...
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183 views

Covariant derivative of a covariant tensor wrt superscript

Is it true that when you take the covariant derivative of a covariant tensor, do you always have to do with a subscript? What if you do it wrt a superscript?Does the first term (with the partial ...
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224 views

Wald problem 4 of chapter 4

I'm trying to derive equation 4.4.51 in Wald's GR book (the second order correction in $\gamma$ term for the Ricci tensor): where $g=\eta+\gamma$. So ...
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1answer
391 views

What are the general relativity equations for relativistic constant acceleration?

At constant acceleration in special relativity, the time differs for a stationary observer and the astronaut. see the following article for an in-depth explanation: Relativistic Rocket However, when ...
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1answer
985 views

Equation for null geodesic around schwarzschild metric?

I'm trying to find the path of a photon around the Schwarzschild black hole, given its initial conditions. After much tribulation, I've basically given up on solving the equations by myself. I just ...
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2answers
473 views

Excluding big bang itself, does spacetime have a boundary?

My understanding of big bang cosmology and General Relativity is that both matter and spacetime emerged together (I'm not considering time zero where there was a singularity). Does this mean that ...
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1answer
1k views

General relativity and the conservation of momentum

I'm trying to understand the conservation of momentum in general relativity. Due to the curvature of space-time by matters and energy, the path of a linear motion appears to be distorted. Therefore ...
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4answers
746 views

Time inside a Black hole

If time stops inside a black hole, due to gravitational time dilation, how can it's life end after a very long time? If time doesn't pass inside a black hole, then an event to occur inside a black ...
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162 views

How can photons exert gravity if they are wave-like?

As a reference, see this question: Does a photon exert a gravitational pull? It turns out the answer is "Yes" -- but this does not seem consistent with light being wave-like. I am imagining a ...
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180 views

Gravitational distortion of an object's diameter, at a distance,

Does the curvature of space-time cause objects to look smaller than they really are? What is the relationship between the optical distortion and the mass of the objects?
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3answers
677 views

Are the principles of space-time homogeneity and Isotropy independent of one another?

Einstein in deriving the Lorentz transformations, used the principles of space-time homogeneity and Isotropy. Does space-time isotropy follow from space-time homogeneity or are they completely ...
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2answers
444 views

About space-time and its four dimensions

I explained to someone I know about General Relativity (as much as I know). He said that he didn't see how it could be correct. He argued: How is 4-dimensional space-time space different to ...
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965 views

Zero divergence of energy-momentum tensor and gravitational energy

Trying to teach myself general relativity and have just hit yet another confusion. I'm reading that in curved spacetime the energy-momentum tensor has zero divergence, ie ...
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2answers
300 views

Gravitational wave energy

Electromagnetic energy can be related to it's frequency via $E=h\nu$. Is there a comparable relationship between gravitational wave energy and frequency?
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1answer
71 views

Unruh effect and relative acceleration

This is how I understand the Unruh effect: if a person (say, Bob) is moving with acceleration $a$ in his spaceship, then he will see an apparent event horizon around him--that is, the vacuum will ...
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2answers
147 views

Why doesn't a global frame of reference exist for GR?

I only have at best a layperson's familiarity with GR, so forgive me if I am asking a basic question, but I have heard that in GR, we cannot have a global frame of reference, that is a frame of ...
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2answers
117 views

If you fall in a black hole, when do you go past the event horizon? [duplicate]

Say I fall into the event horizon of a black hole. As I cross the black hole, I would appear to outside onlookers to freeze in time, and would never move from that point again. In my perspective, time ...
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1answer
70 views

Local translations in curved spacetime

A global Poincare transformation on a scalar field induces $$\delta(a, \lambda)\phi(x) = [a^{\mu}+\lambda^{\mu\nu}x_{\nu}]\partial_{\mu}\phi(x). \tag{11.46}$$ In curved spacetime we replace $a^{\mu} ...
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3answers
247 views

Acceleration due to Gravity: Free Fall [duplicate]

If we are in a free fall which implies we are accelerating at 9.8 m/sec every sec. And let's say that we are falling into a pit that has enormous depth. So isn't this be possible that we may ...
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2answers
113 views

Is Moon really rotating about its axis?

Wikipedia says yes but on Newtonian arguments. From general relativistic point of view Moon is not rotating but moving along geodesic trajectory. And like parallel transport of a vector (pointing to ...
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1answer
148 views

Where is a closed form also exact?

I'm not very familiar with exterior derivatives. I've some trouble following argument (which is a part of a proof that if the Riemann tensor vanishes, $R^{\,\rho}_{\;\,\sigma \mu \nu}=0$, iff there ...
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0answers
377 views

what are the direct real life applications of general relativity and quantum physics [closed]

What are the direct real life applications of general relativity other than nuclear technology? What I meant was, was there any technology developed based on general relativity that can benefit ...
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2answers
249 views

Does the total mass of an isolated object include the mass stored in its gravitational field?

Since neither the object nor its field could exist without the other, it would seem strange not to include the field energy as part of the object. But how exactly does the accounting go? How is the ...
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2answers
139 views

Can the effects of a person's mass upon the local gravitational field be detected and measured remotely?

As the title suggests, Can the effects of a person's mass upon the local gravitational field be detected and measured remotely? I am aware any mass produces and effects gravity but couldn't find ...
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77 views

Naked singularity and extendable geodesics [duplicate]

I'm currently trying to understand the notion of a naked singularity. After consulting books by Wald and Choquet-Bruhat, it seems that for a naked singularity one must have that the causal curves can ...