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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3answers
773 views

Space-Time Curvature Depends on Relative Speed

When the mass of a planet causes the curvature of space-time we see that an approaching free-falling object deviates its path towards the planet. We also see the amount of that deviation depends on it'...
11
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

Chasing someone who has fallen into a black hole

Assume that my friend and I decided to explore a black hole. I parked the spaceship in a circular orbit safely away from the horizon. He puts on his spacesuit with a jet pack and carefully travels ...
0
votes
0answers
18 views

Theory of relativity [duplicate]

I’ve been reading about Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, specifically the segment on gravity being explained as consequence of spacetime being curved by mass. I can understand the concept of object ...
0
votes
1answer
61 views

Form of the geodesic equation

I have been studying the basics of general relativity with Hartle's Gravity. He presents the geodesic equation as $$ \frac{d^2x^{{\mu}}}{ds^2}=-{\Gamma}^{{\mu}}_{{\alpha}{\beta}}\frac{dx^{{\alpha}}}{...
6
votes
0answers
136 views

View of the sky from inside a black hole

Consider an observer located at radius $r_o$ from a Schwarzschild black hole of radius $r_s$. The observer may be inside the event horizon ($r_o < r_s$). Suppose the observer receives a light ray ...
2
votes
1answer
119 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
36 views

Interpretation of the operation $v^\alpha \nabla _\alpha v^\mu$

In general relativity, we can write the geodesic equation as a contraction $v^\alpha \nabla _\alpha v^\mu = f(\lambda)v^\mu$ along a path defined by coordinates $x^\mu(\lambda)$, and where $v^\mu = \...
2
votes
1answer
638 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
173 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
7k 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 $$\frac{\mathrm d^{2}x^{\mu}}{\mathrm d\tau^{2}}+\Gamma_{\rho\sigma}^{\mu}...
7
votes
2answers
412 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 $(\nabla_\mu \nabla^\mu + m^2) \Phi=0$). ...
22
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
81 views

Global Hyperbolicity in spacetime Manifold [closed]

If space time is timelike or null geodesically incomplete but cannot be embedded in a larger spacetime then we say that it has singularity. What does incompleteness means here?
10
votes
2answers
920 views

Orbits around the Photon sphere of a black hole (Schwarzschild coordinates)

This is a follow-up question to the answer given at What is the exact gravitational force between two masses including relativistic effects?. Unfortunately the author hasn't been online for a few ...
1
vote
0answers
30 views

Coordinate time difference between emiting and detecting a photon in bent spacetime

Consider an arbitrary non-trivial metric $g_{ij}$ - like the Schwarzschild metric. Now, consider two observers $A$ and $B$, staying at fixed radii $R_A$ and $R_B$, respectively, with $R_A > R_B$. ...
2
votes
1answer
74 views

Are the Schwarzschild metric and the Geodesic Equation relevant in the context of the Earth? [closed]

The geodesic equation used in general relativity is the following: $$ {\mathrm d^2 x^\mu \over \mathrm ds^2} =- \Gamma^\mu {}_{\alpha \beta}{\mathrm d x^\alpha \over\mathrm ds}{\mathrm d x^\beta \...
4
votes
0answers
39 views

Schwarzschild metric, speed of ball as measured by observer who catches the ball, just before ball is caught? [closed]

Inspired by this question here. The Schwarzschild metric, describing the exterior gravitational field of a planet of mass $M$ and radius $R$, is given by$$ds^2 = -(1 - 2M/r)\,dt^2 + (1 - 2M/r)^{-1}\,...
3
votes
1answer
73 views

How do you actually use the geodesic equation?

The geodesic equation used in general relativity is the following: $$ {d^2 x^\mu \over ds^2} =- \Gamma^\mu {}_{\alpha \beta}{d x^\alpha \over ds}{d x^\beta \over ds}. $$ It states that the ...
6
votes
1answer
345 views

Null geodesics in uniform gravitational field metric

I'm trying to understand the null geodesics in the metric: $$\mathrm{d}s^2 = -(1+gz)^2 \mathrm{d}t^2 + \mathrm{d}z^2 + \mathrm{d}x^2$$ In particular I'm wondering if the following intuition is valid:...
16
votes
2answers
952 views

How does one measure space-like geodesics? Or: What is the physical interpretation of space-like geodesics?

In general relativity, time-like geodesics are the trajectories of free-falling test particles, parametrized by proper time. Thus, they are easy to interpret in physical terms and are easy to measure (...
0
votes
1answer
52 views

Wald's Equation 3.3.6

I have an issue with Eq. 3.3.6 of Wald's General Relativity. There he would like to prove that for Gaussian normal coordinates, the geodesic tangent field remains orthogonal to all coordinate basis ...
1
vote
1answer
95 views

How does the Einstein summation convention apply to the following equation?

This is the equation is in the "mathematical form" section of the following wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geodesics_in_general_relativity More specifically, the "Full geodesic ...
23
votes
4answers
1k views

The Lagrangian as a metric

My question is, can the (classical) Lagrangian be thought of as a metric? That is, is there a meaningful sense in which we can think of the least-action path from the initial to the final ...
1
vote
2answers
87 views

Straight line null geodesics in Minkowski, De Sitter and Schwarzschild

I'm trying to understand which part of the following metric determines whether photons travel on a "straight" line (thinking of $(t,r,\theta,\phi)$ as a flat background), the metric I'm considering is:...
3
votes
2answers
114 views

Is this video's notion of general relativity correct? [duplicate]

In this video it explains the path of the apple in the general relativity version of gravity as being a straight line on a curved surface. Is this valid? Edit: this isn't a duplicate of the supposed ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Lagrangian for relativistic massless point particle

For relativistic massive particle, the action is $$S ~=~ -m_0 \int ds ~=~ -m_0 \int d\lambda ~\sqrt{ g_{\mu\nu} \dot{x}^{\mu}\dot{x}^{\nu}} ~=~ \int d\lambda \ L,$$ where $ds$ is the proper time of ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

Questions about null geodesic [closed]

Show for the null geodesic in 3D flat spacetime using polar coordinates so the line element is $ds^2=-dt^2+dr^2+r^2d\phi^2$. Do light rays move on straight lines? My question is that I only learned ...
2
votes
1answer
54 views

Energy conservation around a black hole

In the Schwarzschild black hole, the Killing vector "time translation" $k^a$, so that the following quantity is conserved along a geodesic: $$E = -g_{ab}k^au^b = (1 - \frac{2GM}{r})\frac{dt}{d\tau}.$$...
3
votes
1answer
53 views

Difference between Fermi and Riemann normal coordinates

What is the difference between Fermi normal coordinates and Riemann normal coordinates? Which one of them is related to the vanishing of the Christoffel symbols?
1
vote
0answers
31 views

Geodesic tangent vector in a Riemannian 4-space

I am doing a question in Lewis Ryder's introduction to General relativity. I am very close to the answer but not quite there. The question is: A Riemannian 4-space has metric $$ds^2 = e^{2\...
1
vote
1answer
67 views

On the proof of the existence of geodesics coordinates [closed]

From "Introducing Einstein’s Relativity" by Ray D’Inverno page 77-78 In my calculation, the process is $$\frac{\partial{x^{'a}}}{\partial{x^d}}=\frac{\partial{x^{a}}}{\partial{x^d}}+\frac{1}{2} {...
53
votes
4answers
3k views

GR and my journey to the centre of the Earth

[General Relativity] basically says that the reason you are sticking to the floor right now is that the shortest distance between today and tomorrow is through the center of the Earth. I love ...
1
vote
2answers
41 views

Why do relativistic wormholes have to be brought together to make a “time machine”?

In "From wormhole to time machine: Comments on Hawking’s Chronology Protection Conjecture" by Matt Visser (http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/9202090), he summarizes how "time machines" may be created from ...
0
votes
1answer
66 views

Straight lines in general relativity

This question stems from a possibly misguided attempt to understand General Relativity. I am about to leave High school for college, I do however have a rudimentary understanding of tensors, and I ...
1
vote
1answer
64 views

Spacetime manifold surgery: is this result still a valid etc. spacetime?

Given a valid classical GR spacetime manifold $M$ (i.e. 4D, Lorentzian, Hausdorff, paracompact, ?etc.), and $B\subset M$, a closed spatial subset (e.g. a closed ball at fixed $t$) to be excised, [...
0
votes
0answers
36 views

GR - curve (in)completeness & (in)extendibility

Seeking clarification of the distinction between completeness of geodesics/extendibility of curves in GR spacetimes? (Confirm: not the geodesic completeness of a spacetime but the completeness of an ...
0
votes
2answers
57 views

Bending of Light in General Relativity using Perturbation

It is standard textbook calculation (e.g. Schutz's First Course in General Relativity page 294) that we can find a total angular change in light deflection due to gravity to be \begin{equation}\Delta\...
5
votes
2answers
62 views

Wald's General Relativity, section 6.3 Page 144

I cannot understand how he reaches the conclusion in equation 6.3.36 and 6.3.37; even the terminology is somewhat confusing. This is a problem of bending of light under gravitational field. This is ...
1
vote
0answers
33 views

Einstein-Infeld-Hoffman-Lagrangian for a Test-Particle as Limit of Schwarzschild-Geodesic

Consider a test particle of mass $m$ which is in orbit around a spherical-symmetric body with mass $M$. It therefore has a position as described by the coordinates $r,\phi$, and its motion can be ...
1
vote
1answer
369 views

Null geodesics vs timelike geodesics

I'm interested in the paragraph under equation (38) of this reference: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=NOJ9AgAAQBAJ&pg=PA56&lpg=PA56&dq=general+relativity+velocity+of+null+geodesic&...
1
vote
0answers
50 views

Using geodesic deviation for freely falling particles when gravitational waves comes through

Suppose we have a gravitational wave which gives us the following metric $$ds^2=-dt^2+(1+h_+\cos(\omega(t-z)))dx^2+(1-h_+\cos(\omega(t-z)))dy^2+dz^2$$ I want to calculate the time it takes for a ...
3
votes
2answers
133 views

Finding geodesics: Lagrangian vs Hamiltonian

I have a question referring to how to compute geodesics of a given spacetime (say, Kerr). I know that the direct way is via the geodesic equation $$\frac{d^{2}x^{\mu}}{d\lambda^{2}}+\Gamma^{\mu}_{\...
0
votes
1answer
305 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
39 views

Simplify calculation of geodesics from action principle

I don't understand a step with the calculation of geodesics equations from action principle on this link : demo geodesics equations My issue is the following step : $$\int \bigg(\dfrac{dx^{\mu}}{d\...
0
votes
2answers
67 views

The shortest path among two points inside Earth [closed]

I have this idea and I don't know how to process, explain or question it. I hope you can understand these images and help me formulating a good question. This is like a gravitational train but it ...
1
vote
1answer
48 views

Representing 1+1 Minkowski space as a surface in 3D Euclidean space

In 1+1 Minkowski space the distance between two points is given by$$ (x_1 -x_2)^2 -(t_1 - t_2)^2.$$ This is different from the Euclidean distance. But is it possible to come up with a 2D surface ...
0
votes
0answers
59 views

Anti de-Sitter Geodesics

Timelike geodesics in anti de-Sitter space cannot reach infinity. I believe this has something to do with Clairaut's relation. I'm pretty sure it's true though as the analogy with conservation of ...
0
votes
1answer
65 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
556 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 $k:=\...