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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50 views

If time-like paths are geodesics, what physical principle applies to space-like intervals?

If I have a number of particles interacting with one another locally, then the center of mass of the system moves along a geodesic. Taking this further with the particles interacting via an EM field, ...
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1answer
209 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 $(\nabla_\mu \nabla^\mu + m^2) \Phi=0$). ...
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2answers
78 views

Deriving the geodesic equation [closed]

I having been reading a general relativity book, but when in comes to the geodesic equation, it is not derived. How does one go about doing this?
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2answers
67 views

“Shortest” path in general relativity

My professor in mechanics course sneakily teach us some basic idea of general relativity. Which one of the basic assumption is particle walks in shortest world line. I understand shortest path in ...
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0answers
25 views

Vector fields corresponding to null geodesic congruences in general relativity

I'm working in Minkowski space, and I'm considering some 2D surface, $S$. On each point of the surface, I've computed a null vector, $k^a$, which is orthogonal to it. There will be a unique null ...
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2answers
92 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 ...
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3answers
109 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
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1answer
33 views

When does light reach a shell observer in Schwarzschild metric?

I am trying to simulate the trajectory of light in the Schwarzschild metric (as seen by a far away observer) with fixed $\theta = \pi/2$. According to my source (Chapter 18, section 18.5) the ...
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1answer
88 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 ...
3
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1answer
38 views

Light trajectory

We have observed stars where "we should not" Some people say that gravity can alter light trajectory. Some people say that gravity actually alter the space on which light travels. Which one is ...
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1answer
111 views
0
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1answer
63 views

Free-falling from rest into a Kerr black hole

Is it impossible for a particle (with zero angular momentum) to free-fall from rest at infinity into the ergosphere of a Kerr black hole? It seems like it is very easy to show this is the case, but ...
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1answer
51 views

Calculating Christoffel symbols from Lagrangian

I was given the following metric for a sphere $$g_{\mu\nu} = diag(1, r^2, r^2\sin^2\theta)$$ and tasked to calculate the Christoffel symbols. There are 2 ways that I know of to calculate them. One ...
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1answer
108 views

Differentiating the Lagrangian to find geodesic equations?

I'm stuck pretty much at the first hurdle trying to follow the derivation of the geodesic equations from the Lagrangian ...
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3answers
58 views

Principle of Sufficient Reason on light travelling in straight line

I was reading a book Laws and Symmetry by Bas C. Van Fraassen I found that there is an argument for arguing that light travel in straight line: Leibniz's reconstruction of these arguments goes ...
2
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1answer
73 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
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1answer
128 views

Why a timelike geodesic maximizes path length?

I'm studying some GR and my book says that in Pseudo-Riemannian manifolds geodesics may even maximize the path locally. That's what happen to the timelike geodesics, for example. My first question: Is ...
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2answers
1k 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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0answers
70 views

Lagrangian, geodesics and relativity [closed]

My background is in maths, but I have been studying some basic physics with occasional input from a friend who is studying for a physics PhD. Due to my background, I am keen to visualize things ...
2
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1answer
40 views

Parallel Transported Orthonormal Basis

The following argument results in a conclusion that I find strange, and makes me suspect there is something wrong with the reasoning. First, consider a timelike geodesic $\gamma$ with normalized ...
1
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1answer
36 views

Null geodesics in FRW metric: why angular coordinates are constant?

Consider a ray passing through $r=0$ in the FRW metric $ds^2 = -dt^2 +a(t)^2(\frac{dr^2}{1-kr^2} + r^2(d\theta^2 + \sin{\theta}^2d\phi^2))$ The geodesic curve is parametrized by the affine parameter ...
3
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3answers
173 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
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0answers
70 views

Schwarzschild metric circular orbits and kepler's 3rd law

I have been looking at the Schwarzschild metric presented to me as the following within lectures: ...
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0answers
54 views

Is the Weyl Postulate correct?

The Weyl postulate in cosmology states that worldlines do not intersect but it can be shown in GR that using Raychaudhuri equation that geodesics can intersect if there is curvature so I'm really ...
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2answers
93 views

Why is $p_\phi$ conserved in a Schwarzschild orbit?

This arises from the question What is the relationship between $a$ and $m$, which I'm afraid I answered just by looking it up in Schutz's book. However Schutz (as he frequently does) glosses over ...
2
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2answers
609 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 ...
2
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1answer
64 views

Length path integral

Let's consider a 2-dimensional Euclidean plane. The length between two points $a$ and $b$ can be defined in the following way: $$ (ab) := \inf_{\gamma} \,\int_0^1 d\tau \,\sqrt{\delta_{ab} ...
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1answer
105 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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2answers
66 views

Can someone explain how Weinberg's definition of the affine connection for the geodesic equation matches the definition of an affine connection?

Consider the geodesic equation \begin{equation} 0=\frac{d^2 x^\lambda}{d\tau^2}+ \Gamma^\lambda_{\mu\nu} \frac{d x^\nu}{d\tau}\frac{d x^\mu}{d\tau} \end{equation} In Gravitation and Cosmology, on page ...
3
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1answer
92 views

Curvature of Light around a Black Hole [duplicate]

I am in a computer graphics class at my university and for my final project, I have chosen to create a program which renders a simple non-rotating black hole and models the curvature of light around ...
4
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4answers
234 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 $\mathbb{R} \to M$, ...
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1answer
64 views

Definition of the Lagrangian for a relativistic point particle in curved space

I have read that the Lagrangian in GR is defined as $L=\frac{\mathrm{d}s}{\mathrm{d}u}$, where $\mathrm{d}s = g_{ab}\mathrm{d}x^a\mathrm{d}x^b$ is the line element with the metric tensor $g_ab$ and ...
0
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1answer
31 views

Orbital variations [closed]

My question relates to relativity and the warping of spacetime. If the geodesics approaching the star are coplanar with the ecliptic how can polar planetary orbits form?
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1answer
40 views

Given any metric, how to find the straight line path between two points? [closed]

Say we are given a two-dimensional metric $$ds^2=f_1(x)dx^2+f_2(x)dy^2,$$ for any kind of function. How do we calculate the distance along a straight line path (not the shortest possibly) between, ...
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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
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1answer
110 views

Are the Jacobi equation and the geodesic deviation equation related?

On page 111 in his book Riemannian Geometry, Manfredo Do Carmo states what he calls the Jacobi equation \begin{equation} \frac{D^2J}{dt^2} + R(\gamma'(t),J(t))\gamma'(t) = 0 \end{equation} ...
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2answers
125 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 ...
2
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2answers
235 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} = ...
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1answer
95 views

Question on Einstein's derivation of the equation of the geodesic line?

While reading one of the original paper on general relativity written by Albert Einstein, titled the foundations of general relativity, I came across the following passage in pages 167-168, or pages ...
4
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1answer
159 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 $\vec{U}$, ...
1
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1answer
97 views

Why does $\frac{d\tau}{d\sigma} = L$?

I am given a (3+1)-dimensional spacetime that has the line element \begin{equation} ds^2 = -\left(1-\frac{2M}{r}\right)dt^2 + \left(1-\frac{2M}{r}\right)^{-1} dr^2 + r^2 d\phi^2 \end{equation} ...
2
votes
1answer
63 views

What is an “equation of motion” as used in context of geodesic equation?

I am studying general relativity and using the book Gravity by James Hartle. On page 170, he provides the following table: I don't understand what he means by "equation of motion" nor do I ...
2
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2answers
107 views

Curvature gravity and a falling apple? [duplicate]

I know very little of physics after Einstein. I am aware of that Einstein's gravity theory says that the existence of matters creates curvature of a space-time, so that our Earth orbits our Sun. I ...
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2answers
1k views

What does it mean for objects to follow the curvature of space?

In science documentaries that touch on general relativity, it is often said that gravitational pull isn't an actual a pull (as described by classical physics), but rather one body travelling in a ...
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3answers
169 views

What besides the metric do you need to set up the EFEs and the geodesic equation?

One of my professors wrote on the board (1) Mass tells spacetime how to curve $\to$ Metric/Einstein Field Equations (2) Spacetime tells mass how to move $\to$ Geodesic equation Suppose I am given ...
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1answer
72 views

Geodesic equation proof confusing me

I was looking through this proof and have no idea where the $u$ comes from. Any help is appreciated. This is from here; I want to know how they got from eqn 5 to eqn 6.
1
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1answer
85 views

Geodesic equation from the proper time integral

This is something that has been bothering me for a little while. The usual procedure that I've seen is to write the proper time as the line integral $$\tau=\int_\gamma d\tau$$ along some curve ...
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2answers
95 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 ...
4
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1answer
125 views

Curved paths through spacetime when standing still?

I have heard that falling objects fall at the same rate irrespective of their mass. They are 'following straight line paths through curved spacetime'. Does this mean that objects that accelerate in ...
16
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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 ...