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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2
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1answer
266 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
73 views

How close can an observer approach the black hole in an unpowered flyby without falling into it?

In classical mechanics by choosing the right trajectory you can approach a planet arbitrarily closely, if there is no atmosphere or anything to slow you down, you can approach the surface then fly ...
18
votes
4answers
2k views

What does this depiction of a black hole in the movie Interstellar mean?

I was expecting a whirlpool in 3D and the matter glowing from friction as it nears the center, as I expected a event horizon to be negligible visually. How does this depiction work? How big is the ...
2
votes
2answers
337 views

Local inertial coordinates/Fermi normal coordinates

It is said that we can introduce local inertial coordinates/Fermi normal coordinates for any timelike geodesic. But why only for timelike geodesics? What about null geodesics? Perhaps it has to do ...
1
vote
0answers
36 views

Free fall coordinates/Fermi (normal) coordinates

It makes sense intuitively given the equivalent principle, and I've seen many times it stated, that for a free fall (geodesic) path in an arbitrary spacetime, we can choose our coordinate system to ...
4
votes
2answers
192 views

Does the formula $ \theta = \frac{v}{c} $ to find out deflection of light make sense?

I read in reliable sites that GR and classical physics calculate the angle of deflection in the same manner. The formula is almost identical: $$\theta = \frac{4GM}{c^2*r} \rightarrow \frac{4GM}{c*r} = ...
1
vote
3answers
77 views

All geodesics are inextendable?

I think the title is true, because geodesics has a tangent vector with a constant length parametrized by an affine parameter. Probably, it is easier to think about timelike or spacelike geodesics. ...
4
votes
3answers
82 views

Geodesic Equation from variation: Is the squared lagrangian equivalent?

It is well known that geodesics on some manifold $M$, covered by some coordinates ${x_\mu}$, say with a Riemannian metric can be obtained by an action principle . Let $C$ be curve $\mathbb{R} \to M$, ...
2
votes
3answers
80 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
151 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 $(\nabla_\mu \nabla^\mu + m^2) \Phi=0$). ...
6
votes
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
44 views

Is the orbit in Schwarzshild metric a path with maximal proper time?

In curved spacetime particles follow timelike geodesics, which should have maximal proper time (at least locally). I thought this path usually corresponds to a global maximum, and there are only ...
2
votes
2answers
54 views

Why don't objects following a geodesic maintain their rotational state?

If I throw a ball into the air, it comes back down because that is the shape of spacetime and the ball is just following it. But if I paint a spot on the ball and throw it upwards with no rotational ...
2
votes
1answer
181 views

Trajectory of a photon around a Schwarzschild black hole?

Consider a photon coming from the infinity in a unbounded orbit to a Schwarzschild black hole (Schwarzschild radius $r_{s}$) (see this for illustration). Its impact parameter is $b$ and its distance ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

Moving From Schwarzchild Geodesic Equations to Equations of Motion

So I am a student and decided (for some bizarre reason) to attempt to tackle general relativity for my final astrophysics and computational physics project this term. I have been doing a lot of ...
5
votes
1answer
169 views

Ray tracing in General Relativity

I would like to find out what one would see at the Schwarzschild radius of a massive non-rotating black hole, if the black hole is surrounded by a bright ring. For that, I would place the observer at ...
2
votes
1answer
52 views

What happens as the stable orbital velocity approaches the speed of light?

Based on my understanding of the relationship between planetary mass, orbital radius and the velocity for stable orbit, a satellite orbiting a mass equivalent to Earth with an altitude of ~5mm would ...
2
votes
0answers
51 views

Path of light in Kerr metric?

How can one find the trajectory of light in various direction in the Kerr metric? Just wondering if there are some classes of solutions, I don't need exact formula. Are there different classes than ...
0
votes
1answer
145 views

Geodesic deviation on a unit sphere

Very little interest in the original version of this question so I've rejigged it hoping for a more positive response. I'm trying to use the geodesic deviation ...
1
vote
1answer
44 views

Circular orbit in Schwarzschild coordinates [closed]

This was an example in a general relativity textbook which I've been trying to work through myself. A spaceship uses its rocket engine to maintain a circular orbit around a Schwarzschild black hole ...
5
votes
1answer
301 views

Geodesic deviation equation - why does the ordinary second derivative give the correct answer?

I've calculated the correct answer to my problem, but don't understand one of the assumptions I made when doing so. I used the geodesic deviation equation ...
2
votes
1answer
51 views

Does velocity determine a geodesic?

If the gravity effect we witness is due to objects travelling along geodesics, why is the geodesic different for objects with different velocities if there is no gravitational force as such? For ...
1
vote
0answers
40 views

Problem about Schwarzschild Radius [closed]

I'm a high school student in korea. Could you help me solve this problem? I should express theta as schwarzschild Radius (=Rs) and b when v_0 → c(=3x10^8m/s) help me......
6
votes
2answers
315 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
vote
1answer
98 views

Variational principle for a point particle (massive or massless) in curved space

We know that for a point particle, the action is $$ S[x,e] ~=~ \frac{1}{2}\int_{\lambda_A}^{\lambda_B} d\lambda\left[e^{-1}(\lambda)~g_{\mu\nu}(x(\lambda))~\dot{x}^\mu(\lambda)~\dot{x}^\nu(\lambda) ...
0
votes
1answer
95 views

What are great circles of 2-sphere?

What exactly are great circles, and how does one derive them? Given that the Lagrangian is: $$ L =\frac {1}{2}(\dot\theta^2 + \sin^2\theta\dot\phi^2)$$ it was written that the great circles were ...
5
votes
1answer
57 views

What's the definition of incompleteness of a coordinate system and a spacetime?

I always see in GR textbooks that some coordinates or some spacetime is incomplete, such as Rindler spacetime and spacetially flat FRW universe with only positive cosmological constant. This ...
0
votes
0answers
52 views

Weak Equivalence Principle and universality of free fall

I know how we can derive geodesic equation from varying the action of a test particle with respect to coordinates and i know the fact that particles follow geodesics means that free fall is universal. ...
4
votes
1answer
114 views

Is the zero acceleration path also the shortest path between two points?

In flat, free, Euclidean space, the shortest path and the zero acceleration path are the same path, which is a straight line. However, in general relativity, is the zero acceleration path also the ...
0
votes
1answer
145 views

How do objects even move due to gravity?

I am an newbie general relativistic learner and I learnt that gravity is bending of space-time and since objects move in straight-lines but since its curved they follow curved movement through space ...
1
vote
0answers
129 views

Textbook disagreement on geodesic deviation on a 2-sphere

Apologies if I have this completely wrong (and for the general long-windedness). I've searched online but can't find anything helpful/relevant. I'm trying to use the geodesic equation ...
3
votes
2answers
370 views

Which of these two textbook equations of geodesic deviation is correct?

My previous question Geodesic deviation on a 2-sphere - is this the right track? got shot down as “off topic”, so I'm having a second stab at it. Misner et al's Gravitation (p34) gives the geodesic ...
1
vote
0answers
79 views

Radial Null Geodesics in Static Maximally Symmetric DeSitter Space

Given a DeSitter-space metric from the line element: $$ ds^2=\left(1-\frac{r^2}{R^2}\right)dt^2-\left(1-\frac{r^2}{R^2}\right)^{-1}dr^2-r^2d\Omega^2 $$ Where $R=\sqrt{\frac{3}{\Lambda}}$, and ...
0
votes
0answers
46 views

Caustic and Singularities in General Relativity

What is the relation between the formation of caustics of a family of null geodesics and the existence of an incomplete null geodesic?
1
vote
2answers
77 views

Static geodesics in GR

Can we find static geodesics of the type $$x^{\nu}=x_0^{\nu}+\delta_0^{\nu}\tau$$ in some space-time other than Minkowski's?
1
vote
0answers
66 views

Lagrangian for FRW metric

For the metric $$ds^2=-dt^2+a^2(t)(dx^2+dy^2+dz^2),$$ $$L= \sqrt{-g_{\alpha\beta}\frac{dx^\alpha}{dt}\frac{dx^\beta}{dt}}$$ How does this become $$L= \sqrt{1-a^2 (\frac{dx}{dt})^2}~? $$ I guess ...
4
votes
1answer
78 views

Geodesics in Kerr

I'm interested in plotting the trajectories of null geodesics near an uncharged rotating black hole (described by the Kerr solution) which involves a system of first order differential equations. Kerr ...
6
votes
1answer
483 views

In general relativity, are light-like curves light-like geodesics?

Just as the title. If a curve is light-like, i.e. a null-curve, is it definitely a null geodesic?
1
vote
3answers
118 views

Do massless particles follow the curved spacetime or not?

I am assuming that zero (rest) mass particles don't interact gravitationally with each other and other particles. Does that mean they experience a "flat" spacetime instead of a curved one? I find it a ...
2
votes
1answer
136 views

Computing the Christoffel symbols with the geodesic equation

I would like to compute the Christoffel symbols of the second kind using the geodesic equation. To practice, I have tried the Schwarzschild Ansatz $$ g_{00} = \mathrm e^\nu,\quad g_{11} = - \mathrm ...
3
votes
1answer
115 views

Geodesics in AdS3

I'm having some trouble doing an easy computation with the AdS space. I'm considering $\text{AdS}_3$ space with the Poincaré coordinates, so the metric reads $$ds^2 = \frac{R^2}{z^2}(dz^2 - dt^2 + ...
3
votes
2answers
171 views

Can a curvature in time (and not space) cause acceleration?

I realize that the curvature of space-time causes acceleration (gravity). Is it possible to have a curvature only of space, or a curvature only of time? If so, would a curvature only of space, or a ...
6
votes
2answers
164 views

Killing vectors in flat FLRW metric

I have the flat FLRW metric, $$ ds^2=-dt^2+a(t)^2(dx^2+dy^2+dz^2) $$ and a geodesic $\gamma(s)=(t(s),x(s),y(s),z(s))$ with parameter $s$. Two of the Killing vectors of the metric are $ \partial_x$ ...
3
votes
2answers
239 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
64 views

Does geodesics from solving full field equations are same as path from energy-momentum tensor?

As we know, if we had an energy-momentum tensor in all space-time we could obtain the metric tensor by solving field equations. Also i think if we had an energy-momentum tensor then we have ...
4
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
123 views

How does one refute a Machian mechanism for inertial emergence?

Introduction: Consider the diagrams representing the duality between the weak and strong principles of equivalence. Now based on how these diagrams were taught to us (at least how they were taught ...
7
votes
2answers
425 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 $, ...
2
votes
0answers
61 views

Geodesic Deviation between Test Particles from Gravitational Wave

I'm having trouble understanding how Carroll (Spacetime and Geometry p.296) explains the effect of a passing gravitational wave on test particles. If we have two geodesics with tangents $\vec{U}$, ...
0
votes
1answer
73 views

How exactly can we describe the normal force on a static person standing on earth's surface using general theory of relativity?

For planetary motion I can understand that the planets move along the geodesics e.g. the warped space-time geometry. Imagine that the moon gets suddenly stopped by some external force and comes to ...