A theory that describes how matter produces and responds to 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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Watching something fall into a black hole from far away

I am observing (theoretically) an object falling into a black hole from a safe distance away. My understanding is that from far away it appears as if the body will asymptotically approach the event ...
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6answers
2k views

What methods can astronomers use to find a black hole?

How can astronomers say, we know there are black holes at the centre of each galaxy? What methods of indirect detection are there to know where and how big a black hole is?
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What is the escape velocity of a Black Hole?

The escape velocity of Earth is $v=\sqrt{\frac {GM}{R}}$, where $M$ is the mass of the Earth and $R$ it's radius (approximating it as a sphere), and is much less than light speed $c$. What is the ...
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2answers
2k views

What is the physical meaning of the affine parameter for null geodesic?

For time-like geodesic, the affine parameter is the proper time $\tau$ or its linear transform, and the geodesic equation is ...
4
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3answers
422 views

References for ADM formalism and cosmological perturbation theory [closed]

What would you consider the best online resources for learning the 3+1 ADM formalism and gauge invariant perturbation theory in cosmology? (Assuming intermediate level GR and QFT familiarity)
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1answer
261 views

If a magnetic monopole falls into a schwarzchild black hole, what happens to the magnetic field?

By the no-hair theorem, black holes can only have mass, charge and angular momentum. Does "charge" include "magnetic charge" (such as from a magnetic monopole)? Can black holes have magnetic charge ...
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3answers
288 views

Theory that gets rid of dark matter/energy

Is there any physics theory that either groups together gravity and dark energy/dark matter or eliminates dark energy/dark matter by modifying standard understanding of gravity or any force? If so, ...
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3answers
228 views

Why can't we think of free fall as upside down rocket?

/\ / \ | | | m | | | ------ <--- floor (Rocket A) This rocket is accelerated (g) upwards then mass(m) falls on the floor. ...
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3answers
198 views

Can a single particle create a black hole?

Let us suppose a particle with so much energy $ E= h \frac{c}{\lambda} $ so $ \lambda $ is smaller than Planck's length ? Would it be possible? I mean if the particle has so much energy then its mass ...
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2answers
769 views

Neutrino unaffected by gravity

Are neutrinos affected by gravity? If not, could that be a plausible reason for a neutrino taking a shorter path than light, since light is affected by gravity?
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5answers
2k views

Could gravity be an emergent property of nature?

Sorry if this question is naive. It is just a curiosity that I have. Are there theoretical or experimental reasons why gravity should not be an emergent property of nature? Assume a standard model ...
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7answers
1k views

How precisely does a star collapse into a black hole?

I think we all heard general statements like "once big enough star burns out there is nothing to prevent the gravitational collapse ending in a black hole". But I can't remember even seeing the ...
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3answers
949 views

The Pioneer anomaly finally explained?

Pioneer 10 & 11 are robotic space probes launched by the NASA in the early 1970's. After leaving our solar system, an unusual deceleration of both spacecrafts has been measured to be approximately ...
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4answers
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Does a charged particle accelerating in a gravitational field radiate?

A charged particle undergoing an acceleration radiates photons. Let's consider a charge in a freely falling frame of reference. In such a frame, the local gravitational field is necessarily zero, ...
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5answers
2k views

What is the conserved quantity of a scale-invariant universe?

Consider that we have a system described by a wavefunction psi(x). We then make an exact copy of the system, and anything associated with it, (including the inner cogs and gears of the elementary ...
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2answers
456 views

Can matter really fall through an event horizon?

This question is closely related to Event horizons without singularities from about a year ago (May 2012), which John Rennie answered nicely and persuasively. My variant of the question is this: ...
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2answers
402 views

What are the local covariant tensors one can form from the metric?

Normally in differential geometry, we assume that the only way to produce a tensorial quantity by differentiation is to (1) start with a tensor, and then (2) apply a covariant derivative (not a plain ...
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1answer
218 views

General definition of an event horizon?

Horizons are in general observer-dependent. For example, in Minkowski space, an observer who experiences constant proper acceleration has a horizon. Black hole horizons are usually defined as ...
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2answers
619 views

Gravitational slingshot of light using a black hole/massive object

Wikipedia has this page on gravity assists using planets. In some cases this effect was used to accelerate the spacecraft to a higher velocity. This diagram shows this in a very oversimplified manner. ...
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2answers
526 views

is there a way to split a black hole?

Classically, black holes can merge, becoming a single black hole with an horizon area greater than the sum of both merged components. Is it thermodynamically / statistically possible to split a black ...
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3answers
920 views

No hair theorem for black holes and the baryon number

The no hair theorem says that a black hole can be characterized by a small number of parameters that are visible from distance - mass, angular momentum and electric charge. For me it is puzzling why ...
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4answers
638 views

Redshifting of Light and the expansion of the universe

So I have learned in class that light can get red-shifted as it travels through space. As I understand it, space itself expands and stretches out the wavelength of the light. This results in the light ...
14
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2answers
4k views

Why you need a graviton when you have the higgs boson?

Since I studied General Relativity I had this question running on my mind. As I see it (just taking lectures of Quantum Field Theory right now) "Why you need a gauge boson for gravity when the higgs ...
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3answers
755 views

Group Theory in General Relativity

In Special Relativity, the Lorentz Group is the set of matrices that preserve the metric, i.e. $\Lambda \eta \Lambda^T=\eta$. Is there any equivalent in General Relativity, like: $\Lambda g ...
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1answer
226 views

Plausible explanations for 3 local space dimensions

Every now and then I see accounts of models that claim to explain why we experience only 3 space dimensions (locally, i.e. within cosmic horizons and outside black hole horizons). One such of course ...
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2answers
579 views

Can the Big Rip really rip apart an atomic nucleus?

Some scenarios describing the fate of the matter vs dark energy tug of war on the universe involve the acceleration of the universe increasing to the point that it ends up ripping apart even atoms. ...
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What happens when a black hole and an “anti-black-hole” collide?

Let's say we have one black hole that formed through the collapse of hydrogen gas and another that formed through the collapse of anti-hydrogen gas. What happens when they collide? Do they (1) ...
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Can spacetime exist in the absence of matter and energy?

I'm pretty sure Ernst Mach would have said that spacetime cannot exist without matter in it. But I'm also pretty sure that a black hole can be described as a self-sustaining gravitational field, ...
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What is the exact gravitational force between two masses including relativistic effects?

I was wondering if there is a closed-form formula for the force between two masses $m_1$ and $m_2$ if relativistic effects are included. My understanding is that the classic formula $G \frac{m_1 ...
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1answer
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Explicit Variation of Gibbons-Hawking-York Boundary Term

Are there any references that present the explicit variation of the Hilbert-Einstein action plus the Hawking-Gibbons-York boundary term, and demonstrate the cancellation of the normal derivatives of ...
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2answers
185 views

Assuming that the Cosmological Principle is correct, does this imply that the universe possess an empircially privileged reference frame?

OK...before everyone blasts this with references to the relativistic invariance of the physical laws, time dilation, etc let me add some context. Also, I am an amateur with an interest in physics, so ...
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458 views

What happens to orbits at small radii in general relativity?

I know that (most) elliptic orbits precess due to the math of general relativity, like this: source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-body_problem_in_general_relativity I also know that something ...
6
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1answer
413 views

Why is the stress-energy tensor symmetric?

The relativistic stress-energy tensor $T$ is important in both special and general relativity. Why is it symmetric, with $T_{\mu\nu}=T_{\nu\mu}$? As a secondary question, how does this relate to the ...
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4answers
2k views

That 10km/day error predicted if GPS satellite clocks not corrected for relativity

Some authorities have stated publicly and without explanation that if the theories of Special and General Relativity were not taken into account in the design of the GPS (by building the satellite ...
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3answers
580 views

Vacuum and repulsive gravity

How can one show from General Relativity that gravity is attractive force, and under which conditions it becomes repulsive, also why positive energy vacuum drives repulsive gravity?
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367 views

Diff(M) and requirements on GR observables

This question is kind of inspired in this one: Diff(M) as a gauge group and local observables in theories with gravity The conundrum i'm trying to understand is how is derived the (quite) ...
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3answers
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How does faster than light travel violate causality?

Let's say I have two planets that are one hundred thousand lightyears away from each other. I and my immortal friend on the other planet want to communicate, with a strong laser and a tachyon ...
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4answers
386 views

What makes the stars that are farther from the nucleus of the galaxy go faster than those in the middle?

It has no sense that stars that have a bigger radius and apparently less angular speed($\omega$) goes faster than the ones near the center.
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3answers
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How much choice did Einstein have in choosing his GR equations?

General relativity was summarised by Wheeler as "Spacetime tells matter how to move; Matter tells spacetime how to curve". I have a fairly good mental picture of how the first part works. However, I ...
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2answers
239 views

Parallel Transport of a 4-vector

Why does the parallel transported $4$-vector change from $X^a(x)$ to $X^a(x) + \bar{\delta}X^a(x)$ ? This is also discussed in D'Inverno's relativity book [page - 72]; but the reason is not clear.
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1answer
343 views

Counting degrees of freedom for gravitational waves as a gauge field

Sean Carroll has a new popularization about the Higgs, The Particle at the End of the Universe. Carroll is a relativist, and I enjoyed seeing how he presented the four forces of nature synoptically, ...
5
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1answer
228 views

Are objects in a gravitational well shortened?

Bob is in a gravitational potential well, he moves a long vertical stick up and down a distance of 1 meters. Alice observes the upper end of the stick, at upper location. There is the phenomenon of ...
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1answer
107 views

Computing Curvature via Cartan Formalism

Given a metric $g_{\mu \nu}$, one can select an orthonormal basis $\omega^{\hat{a}}$ such that, $$ds^2= \omega^{\hat{t}}\otimes\omega^{\hat{t}} - \omega^{\hat{x}} \otimes \omega^{\hat{x}} - ...$$ By ...
4
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2answers
258 views

Does throwing a watch into the air cause it to gain or lose time?

Suppose I'm on a non rotating planet. I have two identical, perfect watches. I synchronize them. Then I throw one of them into the air and catch it. Does the one I throw into the air gain or lose time ...
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2answers
962 views

Faster-than-light communication using Alcubierre warp drive metric around a single qubit?

The Alcubierre warp drive metric has been criticized on the points of requiring a large amount of exotic matter with negative energy, and conditions deadly for human travellers inside the bubble. What ...
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Inertial frames of reference

I'm struggling with the notion of an inertial frame of reference. I suspect my difficulty lies with the difference between Newtonian and relativistic inertial frames, but I can't see it. I've read ...
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1answer
298 views

Contracting Indices

Does anyone know how to get from (1) to (2) in the system $$ \begin{align} \mathrm{g}^{\mu\nu}_{,\rho}+ \mathrm{g}^{\sigma\nu}{{\Gamma}}^{\mu}_{\sigma\rho}+ ...
7
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3answers
634 views

What is the capture cross-section of a black hole region for ultra-relativistic particles?

What is the capture cross-section of a black hole region for ultra-relativistic particles? I have read that it is $$\sigma ~=~ \frac{27}{4}\pi R^{2}_{s}$$ for a Schwarzschild BH in the geometric ...
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2answers
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Does String Theory disagree with General Relativity?

I would like to expand on what I mean by the title of this question to focus the answers. Normally whenever a theory (e.g. General Relativity) replaces another (e.g. Newtonian Gravity) there is a ...
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Harold White's work on the Alcubierre warp drive

I've read a bit on Harold White's recent work. (A paper on Nasa's site) I haven't been able to find any comments by people claiming to know anything about the physics involved. Is this really serious? ...