The union of special (SR) and general (GR) relativity. Use this tag if both SR and GR apply.

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Length contraction in rotating frame?

If an observer were to rotate around a point at near light speeds, what sort of length contraction would he observe the universe undergo?
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Is space curvature relative?

If I have an object that is of some length $l$ moving at a relativistic velocity $v$ for some reference frame in a 1D universe, then length contraction states that $l=\gamma\times l'$. But at the ...
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Are objects in a gravitational well shortened?

Bob is in a gravitational potential well, he moves a long vertical stick up and down a distance of 1 meters. Alice observes the upper end of the stick, at upper location. There is the phenomenon of ...
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Relationship between the continuity equation and the wave equation

What exactly is the relationship between the continuity equation and the wave equation? Suppose $J^\mu$ is a contravariant vector that satisfies the continuity equation $\partial_\mu J^\mu=0$. Let ...
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Chasing a photon [duplicate]

According to this article, the Theory of Special Relativity holds that if you were chasing a stream of light at half the speed of light, $c/2$, the light's speed relative to you would still be $c$. ...
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How is light affected by gravity?

Light is clearly affected by gravity, just think about a black hole, but light supposedly has no mass and gravity only affects objects with mass. On the other hand, if light does have mass then ...
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Difference between timelike and spacelike vectors

Other than one having a positive invariant scalar product and the other a negative one, what are the actual physical differences between these vectors?
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809 views

Can light affect gravity? [closed]

I have a mentor at work, who wrote a paper in the past regarding light and relativity. I am an aerospace engineer by training and a system administrator/programmer by trade, so I know a little bit ...
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265 views

How does relativity explain gravity, without assuming gravity [duplicate]

I have seen the "objects pull down on space-time" explanations, but they assume a "pull down" force themselves. Could anyone explain the space-time explanation without assuming gravity in the first ...
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When we talk about speeds in relativity theory, where are they measured?

I recently asked a question here about if the direction we travel matters in relativity theory: Does it matter in which direction I travel in relativity theory? After I got answers and making more ...
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448 views

Relativistic Hamiltonian Formulations [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Hamiltonian mechanics and special relativity? The Hamiltonian formulation is beautifully symmetric. It's a shame that the explicit time derivatives in Hamilton's ...
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Relativistic Time dilation and travel to exoplanets

NASA recently discovered the first habitable exoplanet with the Kepler space telescope. Recently I was on this site: http://www.cthreepo.com/lab/math1/ With the Long Relativistic Journeys ...
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Why doesnt gravity speed up light?

We know that gravity speeds up a body; for instance, a meteor which enters the earth gets constantly accelerated up by earth's gravity. And from relativity we know that light bends near a massive ...
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“Reality” of length contraction in SR

I was in argument with someone who claims that length contraction is not "real" but only "apparent", that the measurement of a solid rod in its rest reference frame is the "real length" of the rod and ...
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Is acceleration caused by curvature or space or time or both?

I'm trying to get a hold of the idea of gravity in general relativity and spacetime. I've seen plenty of demonstrations of the rubber mat analogy to describe gravity and spacetime curvature. Is this ...
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277 views

Question about gravity in 1 dimension

Consider 2 pointmasses in 1D space. More specific ; object $A$ with mass $m_a$ and object $B$ with mass $m_b$. $A$ and $B$ are a distance $d$ away from eachother. Let these pointmasses $A,B$ have no ...
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Does a interstellar spacecraft traveling at relativistic velocity require continous thrust to maintain velocity?

Assuming completely empty space, does a spacecraft traveling at 0.5 C require continuous thrust to avoid deceleration? If the spacecraft is traveling at 0.5 C, does it's relativistic mass act upon ...
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How does Spacetime Curvature increase the velocity of particles falling towards the earth?

Two particles fall side by side, towards the earth. The horizontal distance between them is 10m. As they advance nearer and nearer to the earth's surface, the horizontal distance decreases, from 10m ...
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220 views

Mirror image at relativistic speeds

Imagine moving parallel to the surface of a very large flat mirror at relativistic speeds. What would be the effect of viewing yourself in the mirror? At non-relativistic speeds your image would be ...
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56 views

Long rod in an expanding universe

Suppose you have a metal rod, of vast length, floating in space. From it's center-of-mass reference frame it is assumed to be at rest with respect to the CMB. The rod will have some degree of ...
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642 views

How much time has passed for Voyager I since it left the Earth, 34 years ago?

34 years have passed since Voyager I took off and it's just crossing the solar system, being approximately at 16.4 light-hours away. How much time have passed for itself, though?
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Acceleration in relativistic particle [closed]

Suppose that a relativistic particle of mass at rest $m_0$ and charge $q$ moves under the influence $F$. Show that the acceleration $a$ of the particle can be expressed as follows: $$a = \frac1mF + ...
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408 views

Feynman's proof for Liénard-Wiechert's potential of a moving charge

Feynman's proof utilizes a geometrical and fundamental integration argument. I like it, except this bit: What makes me unconfortable somehow is that in (c) we are counting in some of the charge we ...
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186 views

How is relativistic N-body simulation possible without knowing the entire histories of each particle?

In n-body simulation you need to know the positions of the particles in order to calculate the force between them. The new velocity of each particle can then be calculated given a simulation timestep ...
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562 views

Ephemeris calculations: Light time correction of the moon

I am currently trying to calculate apparent positions from raw JPL data. I've got it pretty much figured out, but there is one thing that's bugging me: Has the light time correction of the moon to be ...
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Current state of the existence of absolute space debate [closed]

Samir Okasha writes about the controversy concerning the existence of absolute space in Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction (2002): One of the intriguing things about the ...
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232 views

Gravitation not instantaneous = non elliptic orbits?

When I studied physics some time ago my teacher explained that if we consider the gravitational atraction not instantaneous, such as the General Relativity says, the planets would be attracted towards ...
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How to calculate time dilation in approaching speed of light

If a spaceship travels close to the speed of light (say, at 0.9c), how do I calculate the time as the spaceship pilot experience it? I thought the formula was $$t = \frac{t_0}{\sqrt{1-v^2/c^2}}$$ ...
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644 views

Gravitational Time Dilation with big masses

From Wikipedia I read that the formula for calculating the time dilation caused by a mass is $t_0 = t_f{\sqrt{1-\frac{2GM}{rc^2}}}$ where: $t_0$ is the proper time between events A and B for a ...
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225 views

From a particle's point of view is his temperature absolute zero

Since the vibration of the particles is what cause temperature and a particle from its own point of view is not moving, is its temperature 0°K from its own point of view? Is there a thing like ...
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476 views

Time Dilation - what happens when you bring the observers back together?

I'm having trouble getting my head around the time dilation paradox. Observer A and B are at the same "depth" in a gravity well. Observer B then descends into the well. A will observe B's time as ...
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244 views

Which kinds of Physics laws do and don't comply with the principle of relativity?

In Physics, the principle of relativity is the requirement that the equations describing the laws of physics have the same form in all admissible frames of reference. However, according to this and ...
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396 views

If a photon has no mass, how can it be attracted by the Sun?

I read that the photon doesn't have mass, but my teacher says that the photon has mass because the sun can attract it (like in the experiments to prove the theory of relativity). I think that there ...
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229 views

Will a relativistic rocket be destroyed by incident photons?

I have read, that as a rocket approaches light speed, objects in front of it become blue shifted and also intensity of light increases. Does this mean that at some point any rocket will be destroyed, ...
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Relativity and predictability

My old theoretical physics professor used to say that (already) (special?) relativity shows that "the future is not predictable". Any ideas how this should be interpreted?
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Is a preferred reference frame of the universe the old aether?

About two years ago I posted a question about a symmetrical twin paradox: Here. Recently a new answer was posted and an intense discussion ensued: Here. One of the points discussed concerns a ...
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228 views

Having trouble seeing the similarity between these two energy-momentum tensors

Leonard Suskind gives the following formulation of the energy-momentum tensor in his Stanford lectures on GR (#10, I believe): $$T_{\mu \nu}=\partial_{\mu}\phi \partial_{\nu}\phi-\frac{1}{2}g_{\mu ...
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132 views

Speed cannot be greater than speed of light. How about acceleration? Does it have limit?

We know that $c$ is the largest speed in the universe. How about the acceleration, does it has limit?
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If I travel close to the speed of light and come back, why is everyone else dead, and not me? [duplicate]

Consider the following scenario: I get in a spaceship, and travel really close to the speed of light for a while, and then come back. A lot of time has passed on the Earth, but since I was traveling ...
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175 views

Light & Observer moving perpendicular to each other

Light is the yellow arrow. Observer is the black arrow. Observer is moving at a constant speed of v, w.r.t to a Galilean frame of reference. Now from the point of view of the observer (O), how ...
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Why acceleration is not relative in General Relativity?

I was thinking of it, If I say: "I'm moving at a velocity $v_1$ relative to a reference frame $M$ then the acceleration will be the derivative of $v_1$ relative to the reference frame $M$." In other ...
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488 views

Relation between coordinates and frames of reference

I always get a little uneasy that all the theories I can think of (at least since Newton) are constructed in a way such that they would be true in heaven and on earth ... but we can never go ...
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relativity and aberration of light

I am dealing with math and physics only at amateur level and I am writing regarding my question on relativistic aberration of light. Reading "Realtivity and Common Sense" by Hermann Bondi and some ...
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If Julian Barbour is Correct, is the Speed of Light Special?

According to this article in Discover Magazine, Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity is wrong, because it didn't fully live up to the ideas of Einstein's idol, Ernst Mach. Mach proposed a truly ...
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Circular motion and time dilation

Einsteins' time paradox was shown when two atomic clocks were synchronized and one was sent in a super sonic plane and the other kept at rest. When the two where then checked it was shown that yes ...
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95 views

Is a particular force different in different frames

Can a particular real force have different magnitude in different frames?
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124 views

Killing Equation, trouble with tensor algebra

I'm attempting to follow a proof that the commutator of two Killing vectors is itself a Killing vector. The source that I've posted is from my course notes. I've highlighted the part I'm stuck on. ...
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77 views

What prevents an orbiting object from getting a speed which is greater than $c$? [duplicate]

Consider an object orbiting around a point with radius $r$ and angular velocity $\omega$. Here its linear velocity is $v=\omega r$. If we choose a large enough $r$ and reasonable $\omega$, $v$ might ...
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281 views

Dimensional aspects of the imaginary unit $i$ in physics [duplicate]

From a real world perspective each dimension in the 3-D Cartesian System can be represented by an axis that is perpendicular to 2 other axes. I read somewhere else that the effect of ${i}$ is to ...
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139 views

Why does Relativity effect the melting point of mercury?

I know there is a related question, that references the Dirac Equation, that relies on relativity, but I've just watched this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtnsHtYYKf0 Which seems to say ...