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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4
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1answer
336 views

Wave packet in curved spacetime

It is known that the classical equation of motion for a scalar field wave packet on a curved spacetime background gives the geodesic trajectory (the e.o.m. is $(\nabla_\mu \nabla^\mu + m^2) \Phi=0$). ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

How do I derive geodesic equation using variational principle? [duplicate]

I am trying to derive the geodesic equation using variational principle. My Lagrangian is $$ L = \sqrt{g_{jk}(x(t)) \frac{dx^j}{dt} \frac{dx^k}{dt}}$$ Using the Euler-Lagrange equation, I have got ...
18
votes
1answer
457 views

Do light waves precisely follow null geodesic paths in General Relativity?

In special relativity one may show that a plane wave solution of Maxwell's equations (in a vacuum), of the form $A^a=C^a\mathrm{e}^{\mathrm{i}\psi}$ has the following properties: The normal ...
1
vote
0answers
42 views

Worldlines in Schwarzschild geometry

I have an observer and a photon on a hypersurface $ \theta=\pi/2$ . My observer has $e, l$ constants of motion (energy and angular momentum divided by mass) and photon has $e',l'$. What conditions ...
0
votes
0answers
72 views

Equation of motion of a free particle

We know that the equation of motion of particle can be derived from the respective action. But in the book I am reading, the author is saying: ... timelike worldline of a massive particle is ...
2
votes
3answers
142 views

Is it possible to express various nonlinear motions as straight lines in transformed spacetime?

I am trying to understand simple examples of space-time curvature. Assume for the moment that $c$ is infinite (classical curvature due to Newton's laws). Also, I will only consider 1+1-dimensional ...
7
votes
2answers
239 views

How warped spacetime bends trajectories of light and moving objects?

I fail to see why the light follows something like the blue line and not the green line on the attached image. Figure 1 - light bends around warped spacetime Afaik. something similar happens ...
1
vote
3answers
170 views

Path of light as it travels between two black holes

What would happen to light passing through a narrow space between the event horizons of two equal-mass black holes? Would it deviate or follow a straight path?
1
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0answers
19 views

Light Ray in AdS

On p77 of these lecture notes (http://arxiv.org/pdf/0712.0689v2.pdf), we are asked to check that a light ray takes infinitely long to reach the centre of AdS. 1, Why doesn't the Penrose diagram for ...
2
votes
1answer
67 views

Proving that Killing form contractions with geodesics are constants of motion

I want to prove the fundamental theorem of Killing forms, namely that $$\frac{d}{d \lambda} \Big( \frac{d P^{\mu}}{d \lambda} \xi_{\mu}(P(\lambda)) \Big) = 0 $$ If $P(\lambda)$ is a Geodesic ...
7
votes
2answers
679 views

Finding 3-Sphere Christoffel connection coefficients using variational calculus, Sean Carrol problem

I have A 3-Sphere with coordinates $x^{\mu} = (\psi,\theta,\phi)$ and the following metric: \begin{equation} ds^2 = d\psi^2 + \text{sin}^2\psi(d\theta^2 + \text{sin}^2\theta d\phi^2) \end{equation} ...
1
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0answers
37 views

Proper time and asymptotic flatness

I'm trying to understand the concept of asymptotic flatness in general relativity, and came up with the following question: If the proper time $\tau$ is infinite for a timelike geodesic, does it mean ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

Comparing durations for two simply described motions in Schwarzschild geometry

I have some basic qualitative questions about the setup with: one satellite $A$ orbiting freely, on a stable circular path, a spherical non-rotating object of mass $M$; and another participant $B$ ...
6
votes
1answer
148 views

Is there a Maupertuis principle for General Relativity?

The motion of a point particle in classical mechanics is given by Newton's equation, $\mathbf{F}=m\mathbf{a}$. Suppose all forces considered are conservative and we have a constant total energy $h$. ...
1
vote
0answers
37 views

Variation of Bazanski Lagrangian

The Bazanski Lagrangian is defined as $$ L=g_{\alpha \beta }U^{\alpha }\frac{D\psi ^{\beta }}{Ds} $$ and $$ U^{\alpha }=\frac{\mathrm{d} x^{\alpha }}{\mathrm{d} s} $$ $x^{\alpha }$ is the ...
0
votes
1answer
85 views

How to proceed (Tough Problem) [closed]

The problem that I am considering is to find the shortest path (or geodesic) on a surface with the equation $z=f(x,y)$. The path is parameterized by $s$ so that the path goes from ...
3
votes
0answers
55 views

Trajectories in AdS

On page 2 of this paper (http://arxiv.org/abs/1106.6073), Maldacena explains (and has a very nice picture) showing the trajectories that a timelike and null particle would take in AdS space. Of ...
1
vote
1answer
138 views

Null geodesic equations

If one is constrained to the $xt$ plane, one can define the intersection with that plane of the null hypersurfaces originating at some point $P$ as $$ g_{tt} \frac{d P^t}{d \lambda}\frac{d P^t}{d ...
3
votes
0answers
35 views

Sources for black hole geodesic orbits

I am looking for good sources that discuss both Kerr and Schwarzschild particle orbits (geodesics). Most sources write down the geodesic equations, constants of motion and the Hamiltonian, but do not ...
6
votes
3answers
295 views

Examples in which the light maximizes the optical path length

I posted a similar question about geodesics on Math.SE. Many sources (Wikibooks for instance) claim that the light could maximize the optical path length in some cases. But I don't think it's actually ...
1
vote
1answer
81 views

Geodesic equation (free particle)

How to find a coordinate system whose geodesic equation does not have the "Christoffel symbol" term? (i.e. free particle - generalized Newton's second law.)
1
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0answers
45 views

Existence of a solution for geodesic differential equations for a singular metric

In order to determine the geodesics, one must solve the following set of differential equations \begin{align} \frac{d^2 x^j}{ds^2} + {j\brace h\,\,k}\frac{dx^h}{ds}\frac{dx^k}{ds} = 0, \end{align} ...
9
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
78 views

If curved paths imply that the vehicle is accelerated, how come do we assume that light gets curved whilst its speed is constant?

I don't understand how we can accept these two sentences at the same time: Light speed is constant, therefore experiences no acceleration. On the presence of a gravitation field, light path is ...
1
vote
0answers
37 views

How does the expanding of null hypersurface orthogonal geodesic congruence imply a particular result?

Sorry that I do not know how to summarize my problem in the title. First, please go to the website here (free access, even though it looks otherwise) to download the paper done by R. Sashs on ...
2
votes
1answer
130 views

Infalling light signals seen by a free falling observer

In this question/answer Does someone falling into a black hole see the end of the universe?, it is stated that an observer free falling toward/into a black hole will not see the end of the Universe ...
10
votes
2answers
895 views

AdS Space Boundary and Geodesics

I'm new to working with AdS space and am primarily concerned with black holes. I'm just playing round with the metric for AdS$_4$ $$ds^2=-f(r)dt^2+f^{-1}(r)dr^2+r^2d\zeta^2$$ for $f(r)=r^2+m $, ...
0
votes
0answers
35 views

Acceleration in AdS

I've been reading some notes ("Anti-de Sitter space" by Bengtsson) on anti-de Sitter space. It is shown in equation 152 that timelike observers at fixed radial distance from the origin experience a ...
0
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0answers
35 views

Geodesics on dS and AdS

I have been reading through the following paper "The dS and AdS Sightseeing Tour" (http://www.bourbaphy.fr/moschella.pdf) but I am not clear about why geodesics appear as hyperbola in the dS case (see ...
0
votes
1answer
88 views

Null geodesics vs timelike geodesics

I'm interested in the paragraph under equation (38) of this reference: ...
0
votes
3answers
160 views

What is the meaning of “a straight line”? [duplicate]

The book "The Dancing Wu Li Masters" page 189 talking about General Relativity says "A geodesic is not always a straight line". Is that true? What is a definition of "straight line" that makes sense ...
4
votes
3answers
9k views

Why does light always travel in a straight line?

No matter the frame light is in, it always moves in a straight line in that frame. Why is that? It doesn't seem like something to me that should necessarily be true. If some one runs forward and sends ...
0
votes
1answer
63 views

The Ricci tensor and its relation to volume

From Wikipedia's entry on Ricci tensor, In differential geometry, the Ricci curvature tensor, named after Gregorio Ricci-Curbastro, represents the amount by which the volume of a geodesic ball in ...
0
votes
0answers
89 views

How to calculate photons/light trajectory under gravity

I'm aware many questions are out there asking similar questions about photons and gravity and I got the basic concept by searching through them. I will just call it light although it may not be the ...
5
votes
1answer
244 views

Why doesn't this metric cover all of de Sitter space?

I'm working on a problem from Carroll's Spacetime and Geometry. Supposedly I should be able to use the geodesic equatio ...
1
vote
0answers
34 views

Null geodesic equation with affine parameters [duplicate]

A photon's geodesic equation is defined by re-parameterizing the geodesic equation to some parameter other than proper time. This is done because $ds=0$ for the photon. Again if we use affine ...
0
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0answers
50 views

How would you describe what the affine parameter is in layman's terms? [duplicate]

I've been trying to learn it from other sites, but I'm not well-versed enough in mathematics to understand.
2
votes
1answer
84 views

Derivation of geodesic deviation equation from two neighbouring geodesics

I'm stuck trying to follow Foster and Nightingale's derivation of the geodesic equation from two neighbouring geodesics $x^{a}\left(u\right)$ and $\tilde{x}^{a}\left(u\right)$ joined by a ...
2
votes
1answer
64 views

Movement of bodies in space, affected only by gravity

I have been extensively studying General Relativity for some time now. Recently I asked myself a question which I can't answer. If the gravitational metric is determined by the Energy content of the ...
2
votes
4answers
711 views

If gravitation is due to space-time curvature, how can a body free-fall in a straight line?

According to general relativity, Gravity is due to space-time curvature. Then all paths must be curved. If so, how can there be any straight line motion? The body must follow a curved path. So, there ...
2
votes
1answer
347 views

Null geodesic equation

For a null geodesic curve $X^i$, $$0=g_{ij}V^iV^j.$$ When we derive the geodesic equation from E-L equations, will this affine parametrization cause it to blow up? How is it justified to use the ...
1
vote
0answers
68 views

Existence of affine parametrization [closed]

This is a question from General Relativity by Wald Chapter 3, problem 5. Given either pseudo-Riemannian or Riemannian metric $g_{ab}$ and manifold $M$. Assume the $\nabla$ is compatible with the ...
3
votes
1answer
67 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
54 views

Is it true that particles propagate on geodesics in Yang-Mills theory?

I mean free particles. Sorry for the inaccurate wording, I'm new in this field of physics.
1
vote
1answer
50 views

Why doesn't light vibrate in-situ?

Light always moves in a straight geodesic path (shortest distance between 2 points in flat space where gravity is homogeneous) across 3 dimensions of space and 1 dimension of time. It is consists of a ...
0
votes
1answer
152 views

Carroll's derivation of the geodesic equations [duplicate]

In Carroll's derivation of the geodesic equations (page 69, http://preposterousuniverse.com/grnotes/grnotes-three.pdf), he starts with ...
1
vote
0answers
71 views

What is the null geodesic equation? [duplicate]

What is null geodesic equation for the static and spherically symmetric line element in $$ds^{2}=-K^{2}dt^{2}+\frac{dr^{2}}{K^{2}}+r^{2}(d\theta^{2}+\sin^{2}\theta{d\phi^{2}})$$ where ...
1
vote
0answers
24 views

The null geodesic for given geodesic [duplicate]

What is null geodesic equation for the static and spherically symmetric line element in $$ds^{2}=-K^{2}dt^{2}+\frac{dr^{2}}{K^{2}}+r^{2}(d\theta^{2}+\sin^{2}\theta{d\phi^{2}})$$ where ...
1
vote
0answers
142 views

Geodetic effect and Frame dragging

Two gyroscopes pointing perpendicular to each other were housed inside Gravity Probe B which performed polar orbit around Earth to test Einstein's theory of relativity. As the probe is orbiting ...
1
vote
1answer
89 views

Invariance in general relativity, university in problems question

From Problem #5 here, Free falling particles' worldlines in General Relativity are geodesics of the spacetime, i.e the curves $x^\mu(\lambda)$ with tangent vector $u^\mu=dx^\mu/d\lambda$, such ...