For questions involving consideration of the shortest (or longest) path between two points in a curved space (e.g. a straight line between two points on the surface of a sphere such as the earth).

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0answers
74 views

Preservation of a scalar along geodesic trajectory

Let $u^\mu$ be the velocity of a particle , and $\xi^\mu$ be a killing vector. would taking a contravariant derivative of to scalar product $\xi_\mu u^\mu$ , and showing that it equals to 0 shows that ...
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1answer
70 views

Maximum aging and path of rock

When a rock falls from a ledge, why does it head to the surface and not up to where time runs faster? If a rock, free from forces, follows a worldline of maximum aging, why would that rock approach ...
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3answers
443 views

Equation of motion of a photon in a given metric

I have this metric: $$ds^2=-dt^2+e^tdx^2$$ and I want to find the equation of motion (of x). for that i thought I have two options: using E.L. with the Lagrangian: $L=-\dot t ^2+e^t\dot x ^2 $. ...
2
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0answers
48 views

minimal proper time curves bounded on acceleration

Assuming Minkowski spacetime, we know that the longest proper time curve joining two points is the rect joinining both events, While the shortest time-like curve is not a compact set (because there ...
2
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1answer
98 views

From Euler-Lagrange equation to non affine geodesic equation

I have some problems to demonstrate the non affine geodesic equation from Euler-Lagrange's equations. I start defining the Lagrangian $L=\sqrt f$, but then I'm not able to find the Christoffel ...
2
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1answer
623 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 ...
1
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1answer
810 views

Can anyone please explain Hawking-Penrose Singularity Theorems and geodesic incompleteness?

Can anyone please explain Hawking-Penrose Singularity Theorems and geodesic incompleteness? In easy to understand plain English please.
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2answers
292 views

Solving a light ray worldline with the geodesic equation

I'm having trouble solving the geodesic equation for a light ray. $$ {d^2 x^\mu \over d\tau^2} + \Gamma^\mu_{\alpha\beta} {dx^\alpha \over d\tau} {dx^\beta \over d\tau} = 0 $$ I apologise, but I'm a ...
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1answer
142 views

How to find distance of closest approach for a Schwarzschild geodesic?

What is the distance of closest approach in this Wikipedia article? I can't seem to find its definition, and this other question doesn't have an answer I can understand.
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1answer
130 views

Killing vector argument gone awry?

What has gone wrong with this argument?! The original question A space-time such that $$ds^2=-dt^2+t^2dx^2$$ has Killing vectors $(0,1),(-\exp(x),\frac{\exp(x)}{t}), ...
3
votes
2answers
403 views

Geodesic equations

I am having trouble understanding how the following statement (taken from some old notes) is true: For a 2 dimensional space such that $$ds^2=\frac{1}{u^2}(-du^2+dv^2)$$ the timelike geodesics ...
4
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1answer
116 views

“WLOG” re Schwarzschild geodesics

Why, when studying geodesics in the Schwarzschild metric, one can WLOG set $$\theta=\frac{\pi}{2}$$ to be equatorial? I assume it is so because when digging around the internet, most references seem ...
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1answer
210 views

Why four velocity under covariant differential is considered to be zero?

In Einstein's general theory of relativity the elements of four velocity $U^{\mu} (\gamma c, \gamma v)$ under covariant differential is considered to be zero, why? $$\mathcal{D} U^{\mu}=0$$ in other ...
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2answers
155 views

What is path of light in the accelerating elevator?

Mathematically, (by mathematically I means by equations) what is path of light in the accelerating elevator? What is the difference between an ordinary derivative and covariant derivative (which is ...
2
votes
1answer
287 views

The role of the affine connection the geodesic equation

I apologise in advance that my knowledge of differential geometry and GR is very limited. In general relativity the equation of motion for a particle moving only under the influence of gravity is ...
1
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0answers
104 views

Naked singularity and null coordinates

I'm trying to understand the notion of a naked singularity on a more mathematical level (intuitively, it's a singularity "one can see and poke with a stick", but I'm having troubles on how to actually ...
2
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0answers
70 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 ...
0
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1answer
136 views

Can you enter a timelike hypersurface?

As I understand it, a timelike hypersurface is one that has only spacelike normal vectors. But does this not imply that a the geodesic of a particle crossing it must be spacelike at that point? But ...
3
votes
2answers
941 views

Null geodesic given metric

I (desperately) need help with the following: What is the null geodesic for the space time $$ds^2=-x^2 dt^2 +dx^2?$$ I don't know how to transform a metric into a geodesic...! There is no need to ...
6
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1answer
2k views

Physical significance of Killing vector field along geodesic

Let us denote by $X^i=(1,\vec 0)$ the Killing vector field and by $u^i(s)$ a tangent vector field of a geodesic, where $s$ is some affine parameter. What physical significance do the scalar quantity ...
3
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0answers
73 views

Gravitational effects and metric spaces

Could somebody please explain something regarding the Nordstrom metric? In particular, I am referring to the last part of question 3 on this sheet -- about the freely falling massive bodies. My ...
0
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1answer
268 views

Homogeneous gravitational field and the geodesic deviation

In General Relativity (GR), we have the geodesic deviation equation (GDE) ...
2
votes
3answers
271 views

Is the path of stationary action unique? What are the physical implications of $L_{\dot{x}}=L_x$

Below, for any function $Q$ the notation $Q_x$ means $\frac{\partial Q}{\partial x}$, and $Q_{xx}$ means $\frac{\partial^2 Q}{\partial x^2}$. In physics, the trajectory of a particle is given by the ...
13
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4answers
940 views

To which extent is general relativity a gauge theory?

In quantum mechanics, we know that a change of frame -- a gauge transform -- leaves the probability of an outcome measurement invariant (well, the square modulus of the wave-function, i.e. the ...
4
votes
3answers
549 views

Action for a point particle in a curved spacetime

Is this action for a point particle in a curved spacetime correct? $$\mathcal S =-Mc \int ds = -Mc \int_{\xi_0}^{\xi_1}\sqrt{g_{\mu\nu}(x)\frac{dx^\mu(\xi)}{d\xi} \frac{dx^\nu(\xi)}{d\xi}} \ \ d\xi$$
2
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1answer
648 views

Potential Energy in General Relativity

I often hear about how general relativity is very complicated because of all forms of energy are considered, including gravitation's own gravitational binding energy. I have two questions: In ...
3
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1answer
506 views

Problem with convergent geodesics at 2D sphere

There is a chapter on general relativity in the book Spacetime Physics Introduction To Special Relativity by Taylor and Wheeler, which qualitatively explains how attractive gravitational force can be ...
3
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1answer
163 views

How far does typical view of clouds/atmosphere extend?

The specific "sub questions" I'm asking are: When you are looking at clouds just on the horizon, how far away would they be? How wide (in km) is that total field of vision at roughly cloud height. ...
5
votes
1answer
575 views

Geodesic Equation from energy-momentum conservation

I've been reading the excelent review from Eric Poisson found here. While studying it I stumbled in a proof that I can't make... I can't find a way to go from Eq.(19.3) to the one before Eq.(19.4) ...
0
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2answers
336 views

How to think of the harmonic oscillator equation in terms of “acceleration = gradient”

This is related to another question I just asked where I learned that the equation of motion of a harmonic oscillator is expressed as: $$\ddot{x}+kx=0$$ What little physics I grasp centers on ...
13
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3answers
1k views

Why do objects follow geodesics in spacetime?

Trying to teach myself general relativity. I sort of understand the derivation of the geodesic equation ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Why is light described by a null geodesic?

I'm trying to wrap my head around how geodesics describe trajectories at the moment. I get that for events to be causally connected, they must be connected by a timelike curve, so free objects must ...
6
votes
1answer
92 views

How does a geodesic equation on an n-manifold deal with singularities?

My general premise is that I want to investigate the transformations between two distinct sets of vertices on n-dimensional manifolds and then find applications to theoretical physics by: ...
4
votes
1answer
478 views

How do we know the geodesic is a minimum?

The geodesic equation is derived from the Euler-Lagrange equation, which (as I understand it) is a necessary but not sufficient condition to ensure that the geodesic is a minimum. The introductory GR ...
3
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2answers
224 views

Using the area element in derivation of geodesic

In the derivation of the geodesic, one starts with the integral of the line element (arclength): $$L(C)=\int_{\tau_1}^{\tau_2}d\tau\sqrt{g_{\mu \nu}\dot{x}^{\mu} \dot{x}^{\nu}}$$ The integrand is ...
6
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
463 views

How can a point-like particle “feel” gravity, if locally the curvature of spacetime is always flat?

I imagine a point-like particle can only experience the local properties of spacetime. But locally there is no curvature and no gravity, as it is often stated that Locally, as expressed in the ...