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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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 ...
7
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4answers
631 views

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 ...
6
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1answer
445 views

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 ...
6
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2answers
828 views

Deriving Birkhoff's Theorem

I am trying to derive Birkhoff's theorem in GR as an exercise: a spherically symmetric gravitational field is static in the vacuum area. I managed to prove that $g_{00}$ is independent of t in the ...
5
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2answers
349 views

What is the meaning of the “expansion of space”?

When we say that "the space between galaxies is expanding," what do we really mean? For instance, if I think of space as being a Cartesian grid, then when space expands should I think of it as adding ...
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4answers
2k views

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 ...
4
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1answer
244 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
487 views

Geodesics equations via variational principle

I would like to recover the (timelike) geodesics equations via the variational principle of the following action: $$ \mathcal{S}[x] = -m \int d\tau = -m \int \sqrt{-g_{\mu\nu}\,dx^{\mu}\,dx^{\nu}} $$ ...
4
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1answer
287 views

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 ...
4
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3answers
419 views

Why gauge theories have such a success?

[This question was inspired by a identical question asked on a other forum] Note that we may morally include general relativity in the gauge theories. We may have several (some are deliberately ...
4
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5answers
477 views

Space Expansion vs. Relative Motion

Given 2 objects moving at some velocity $v$ relative to one another, is it possible to determine whether they are moving or whether the space between them is expanding?
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4answers
1k views

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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4answers
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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, ...
14
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3answers
317 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 ...
12
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2answers
841 views

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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2answers
1k views

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 ...
6
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2answers
402 views

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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2answers
2k views

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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1answer
1k views

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 ...
5
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1answer
292 views

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 ...
5
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2answers
462 views

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 ...
5
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5answers
3k views

What is the evidence for Inflation of the early universe?

The theory of Inflation explains the apparent consistency of the universe by proposing that the early universe grew exponentially for a 1E-36 seconds. Isn't a simpler explanation that the universe is ...
4
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1answer
518 views

How does an object falling into a plain Schwarschild black hole appear from near the black hole?

I know that when viewed from infinity (or from a very large distance from the black hole event horizon), an object that falls into the black hole will appear to slow down and will become more and more ...
4
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3answers
526 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)
3
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1answer
178 views

Time slowing down vs. universe expanding

Einstein said that it is impossible to distinguish between the effect of gravity and acceleration (so if you stand in an accelerating elevator in space it would not feel any different than if you were ...
3
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3answers
266 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 ...
3
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1answer
639 views

How does Newton's 2nd law correspond to GR in the weak field limit?

I can only perform the demonstration from the much simpler $E = mc^2$. Take as given the Einstein field equation: $G_{\mu\nu} = 8 \pi \, T_{\mu\nu}$ ... can it be proved that Newton's formulation ...
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3answers
693 views

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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5answers
3k 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?
7
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1answer
225 views

What makes us think we can actually detect gravitational waves?

This refers to the discussion about gravitational waves for the YouTube video LIGO Gravitational Wave Observatory. I have two questions: When the gravitational wave passes through the space where ...
6
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1answer
474 views

Can a deformable object “swim” in curved space-time? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Swimming in Spacetime - apparent conserved quantity violation It is well known that a deformable object can perform a finite rotation in space by performing deformations ...
5
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1answer
363 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 ...
5
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1answer
826 views

Is 4-volume element a scalar or a pseudoscalar in special relativity?

In general relativity 4-volume element $\mathrm{d}^4 x = \mathrm{d} x^0\mathrm{d} x^1 \mathrm{d} x^2\mathrm{d} x^3$ is clearly a pseudoscalar (or scalar density) of weight 1 since it transforms as ...
4
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2answers
129 views

What is the notion of a spatial angle in general relativity?

Is there a notion of spatial angles in general relativity? Example: The world line of a photon is given by $x^{\mu}(\lambda)$. Suppose it flies into my lab where I have a mirror. I align the mirror ...
4
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2answers
361 views

Another faster-than-light question

Imagine we have something very heavy (i.e supermassive black hole) and some object that we can throw with 0.999999 speed of light (i.e proton). We are throwing our particle in the direction of hole. ...
4
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2answers
498 views

Is it possible to have faster-than-light movement in General Relativity?

The speed of light as the maximal possible speed is build into Special Relativity as a premise of the theory. However I know of no such premise in General Relativity. When looking at two stars laying ...
4
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2answers
3k views

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. ...
2
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2answers
90 views

Are time and gravity affected when at rest compared to free fall?

A falling object moves along a geodesic path ('straight path') in spacetime. When it comes to rest it now follows a 'curved path' through spacetime. Is the passage of time and force of gravity ...
2
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1answer
246 views

A clock in freefall

Time dilation calculated using Schwarzschild metric for a non rotating spherical body is: $$t_0=t_f\sqrt{1-\frac{2GM}{rc^2}}$$ For such a non rotating spherical body, what would the time dilation of ...
2
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2answers
610 views

Expression for distance of closest approach in Schwarzschild Geodesics

The Wikipedia article Two-body problem in General Relativity uses two length-scale variables, $a$ and $b$, to simplify the math. For some information about these, consider these statements from the ...
2
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3answers
261 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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1answer
71 views

Tidal affect on an object and the length contraction in Relativity Theory

According to the equivalence principle in general relativity theory; If an object are in free falling in a gravitational field,the object will not detect gravitational force on it. From this ...
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1answer
130 views

Can the vanishing of the Riemann tensor be determined from causal relations?

Given a Lorentzian manifold and metric tensor, "$( M, g )$", the corresponding causal relations between its elements (events) may be derived; i.e. for every pair (in general) of distinct events in set ...
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2answers
910 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?
0
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1answer
191 views

How to calculate spatial distance in space-time?

Pinning two test particles at two different points in space, how can I calculate their spatial distance, when the geometry is given by the Schwarzschild metric? Let's say particle 1 is pinned at ...
0
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2answers
146 views

Can relativistic momentum (photons) be used as propulsion for 'free' after the initial generation?

In discussing this question about propelling a spacecraft with photons and their relativistic momentum, the author asked that I restate my comment as another question. If photons can really be used ...
0
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2answers
482 views

Time Dilation in Orbits in the Schwarzschild Metric

I am wondering if there exist closed form-expressions for the time dilation experienced by an observer in different orbits around a Schwarzschild black hole, outside the event horizon, relative to ...
25
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4answers
4k views

What is the physical meaning of the connection and the curvature tensor?

Regarding general relativity: What is the physical meaning of the Christoffel symbol ($\Gamma^i_{\ jk}$)? What are the (preferably physical) differences between the Riemann curvature tensor ($R^i_{\ ...
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7answers
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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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1answer
756 views

Why is there no dynamics in 3D general relativity?

I heard a couple of times that there is no dynamics in 3D (2+1) GR, that it's something like a topological theory. I got the argument in the 2D case (the metric is conformally flat, Einstein equations ...