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
votes
2answers
139 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
55 views

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

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
33 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 - ...
3
votes
1answer
61 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
2answers
388 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
239 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
897 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
26 views

Orthogonal geodesics to hypersurfaces [migrated]

Say we have a Riemannian manifold $(M, g)$ with vector field $Y$, obeying: $g(Y, Y) = 1$; and the $1$-form $\varphi(X) = g(X, Y)$ is $d$-closed, $d\varphi = 0$. I know that the integral curves of ...
0
votes
1answer
44 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
91 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
70 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
29 views

Integral curves of vector field are geodesics [migrated]

Say we have a Riemannian manifold $(M, g)$ with vector field $X$ obeying the following: $g(X, X) = 1$; and the $1$-form $\varphi(Y) = g(Y, X)$ is $d$-closed, $d\varphi = 0$. Does it necessarily ...
3
votes
2answers
110 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
995 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
55 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
46 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 - ...
3
votes
1answer
51 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?
2
votes
3answers
165 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 ...
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 = ...
1
vote
1answer
64 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. ...
1
vote
2answers
35 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
63 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
60 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
56 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
60 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
300 views

Null geodesics vs timelike geodesics

I'm interested in the paragraph under equation (38) of this reference: ...
1
vote
0answers
48 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
119 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
299 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
38 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
57 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
45 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
47 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
63 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
529 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
47 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
100 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
292 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
185 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
vote
0answers
25 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
75 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
748 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
0answers
46 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
34 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 $B$ ...
5
votes
1answer
156 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
42 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 ...