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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Books on cosmology

I am a 14 year old who is independently studying physics. I finished the book: Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity by Sean Carroll. I am specifically interested in cosmology, ...
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Time dilation at the Big Bang

At the time the Big Bang happened the matter had enormous density. According the GR (I may be wrong here) such density dilates time. If so, could it be that the time periods just after Big Bang which ...
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Time Dilation Effects from simply being on a spinning planet orbiting a star in a rotating galaxy in an expanding universe.

I am a layman, so take this with a grain of salt. I saw a TV show the other day which showed a Russian Cosmonaut who had spent more time in space than any other human. The relativistic effects of ...
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Similarity between the Coulomb force and Newton's gravitational force

Coulomb force and gravitational force has the same governing equation. So they should be same in nature. A moving electric charge creates magnetic field, so a moving mass should create some force ...
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437 views

How much extra distance to an event horizon?

How much extra distance would I have to travel through space to get from Earth to a stellar mass event horizon? (compared to the same point in space without a black hole)
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What is the correct formula for gravitational time dilation for a satellite in a circular orbit?

In the Wikipedia article on Gravitational Time Dilation I see two formulae for the gravitational time dilation. One contains $\sqrt{1 - r_0/r}$ but the other $\sqrt{1 - 1.5 r_0/r}$. What formula ...
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Is String Theory formulated in flat or curved spacetime?

String Theory is formulated in 10 or 11 (or 26?) dimensions where it is assumed that all of the space dimensions except for 3 (large) space dimensions and 1 time dimension are a compact manifold with ...
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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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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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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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Is the Planck length Lorentz invariant?

The planck length is defined as $l_P = \sqrt{\frac{\hbar G}{c^3}}$. So it is a combination of the constants $c, h, G$ which I believe are all Lorentz invariants. So I think the Planck length should ...
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Comparing predictions and reality for the gravitational attraction due to light beams

While doing some on-the-side reading, I stumbled across this question: Do two beams of light attract each other in general theory of relativity?. Great question and a great, easily understandable ...
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What is a rocket engine thrusting against in space?

I know Newton's third law of motion might be the answer for this but still I am wondering how the rockets could thrust in the empty space and move in the opposite direction. I guess an astronaut ...
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What is “special” and what is “general” in Relativity?

Initially I thought in special relativity the velocity was constant, whereas general relativity allowed treatment of accelerated frames as well. But now I have heard that SR is only valid locally?
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Is there experimental evidence that massless particles such as photons attract massive objects?

For instance evidence that a highly energetic laser beam attracts objects nearby? In the framework of Einstein's general relativity all energy curves spacetime and hence exerts an attraction, but my ...
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702 views

Are gravitomagnetic monopoles hypothesized?

My understanding is that gravitomagnetism is essentially the same relativistic effect as magnetism. If so, why is it that I've heard so much about magnetic monopoles, but never gravitomagnetic ...
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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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873 views

Does GR provide a maximum electric field limit?

Does GR provide a limit to the maximum electric field? I've gotten conflicting information regarding this, and am quite confused. I will try to quote exactly when possible so as not to confuse ...
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How Does Hubble's Expansion Affect Two Rope-Tied Galaxies?

Suppose we have two galaxies that are sufficiently far apart so that the distance between them increases due to Hubble's expansion. If I were to connect these two galaxies with a rope, would there be ...
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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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How to measure the curvature of the space-time?

I know G.R. change our vision of space and time as a unique surface than can bend. We can associate the curvature of the space-time as the gravity created by the mass of planets, stars... But how can ...
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How do I calculate the (apparent) gravitational pull with General Relativity?

Assume a static metric with (known) components $g_{\mu\nu}$. I'd like to know what is the gravitational pull $g$ of a test particle placed on an arbitrary point $X$. The gravitational pull being ...
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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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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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Will an object always fall at an infinite speed in a black hole?

Most of you if not everybody will agree that the stronger the gravitational pull, the faster an object will fall. For example, on a planet with 50 times the gravity of Earth, any object will hit the ...
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The General Relativity from String Theory Point of View [duplicate]

I have a hard time understand the statement that When you only look at the classical limit or classical physics, string theory exactly agrees with general relativity Because from what I know, ...
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Geodesic equation from Euler - Lagrange

There are several ways to derive the geodesic equation. One of which is the variational method which I seemed to understand it because it was written in great details. Then it was mentioned that the ...
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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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Binary Black Hole Solution of General Relativity?

This is rather a technical question for experts in General Relativity. An accessible link would be an accepable answer, although any additional discussion is welcome. GR has well known solutions ...
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Have red shifted photons lost energy and where did it go? [duplicate]

I think the title says it. Did expansion of the universe steal the energy somehow?
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How does the star that has collapsed to form a Schwarschild black hole appear to an observer falling into the black hole?

I understand that to an outside observer, the light from a star that is collapsing into a black hole will become more and more red-shifted as the surface of the star appears to approach the black hole ...
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Do black holes have infinite areas and volumes?

How to calculate the area / volume of a black hole? Is there a corresponding mathematical function such as rotating $1/x$ around the $x$-axis or likewise to find the volume?
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Movie Interstellar - Question about Escape Velocity

The movie Interstellar shows people on a water planet where time is dilated so much that 1 hour is equal to 7 years back on Earth. Even though they lift off from Earth using a Saturn-V two stage ...
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Why is the equivalence principle so important to general relativity?

In its simplest form, equivalence principle states that the inertial mass and the gravitational mass should be the same. This is easy to understand. But why is it so important to the formulation of ...
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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 ...
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What is the equation for the scale factor of the universe, a(t), for the best fit of data to the $\Lambda CDM$ Model of Cosmology?

Ideally I like a single formula or multiple formulas for different time ranges that would cover the time from the end of inflation through 100+ billion years after the big bang using the $\Lambda ...
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models for astrophysical relativistic jets from compact objects

what is the simplest way to understand the physics of relativistic jets? we know that they have axial symmetry with very tight angular spread, presumably aligned with the axis of rotation of the ...
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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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The bigger the mass, the more time slows down. Why is this?

If I were to stand by a pyramid, which weighs about 20 million tons, I would slow down by a trillion million million million of second. Don't know if that's exactly right, but you get the point. Also, ...
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Mechanism for the gravitational field generated by photons

This question follows from a schooling I received in this thread. I figured that photons do not interact with gravity, except when they've spontaneously converted into a particle-antiparticle pair. ...
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557 views

What is meant when it is said that the universe is homogeneous and isotropic?

It is sometimes said that the universe is homogeneous and isotropic. What is meant by each of these descriptions? Are they mutually exclusive, or does one require the other? And what implications rise ...
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If two ultra-relativistic billiard balls just miss, will they still form a black hole?

This forum seems to agree that a billiard ball accellerated to ultra-relativistic speeds does not turn into a black hole. (See recent question "If a 1kg mass was accelerated close to the speed of ...
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What experimental proof has been found of Einstein's theory?

As a casual science reader, I've always found the implications of relativity (inconsistent clocks after near-light-speed travel and various space-time paradoxes) to be confusing and magical-sounding. ...
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Is there an energy density limit in GR?

I am speaking about GR with classical fields and energy. One question, spread over three increasingly strict situations: Is there an energy density limit in GR? (literally, can the energy density ...
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Covariant and contravariant vectors

Reading Weinberg's Gravitation and Cosmology, I came across the sentence (p.115, above equation (4.11.8)) The partial derivative operator $\partial/\partial x^\mu$ is a covariant vector, or in ...
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What is the geometrical interpretation of Ricci tensor?

In differential geometry and general relativity space is said to be flat if the Riemann tensor $R=0$. If the Ricci tensor on manifold $M$ is zero, it doesn't mean that the manifold itself is flat. So ...
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How general relativity gets to an inverse-square law

I understand that a general interpretation of the $1/r^2$ interactions is that virtual particles are exchanged, and to conserve their flux through spheres of different radii, one must assume the ...
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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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How could we travel to the nearest supermassive Black hole?

I have just watched a trailer for the upcoming movie Interstellar and started to wonder about some physics involved. In the end of the trailer, they are obviously plunging into a Black hole hoping to ...
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What is the entropy of the universe today?

What's the entropy of the universe today? How does one go about calculating this? I've heard the statement that black holes account for the bulk of the entropy in the universe today, but don't know ...