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

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Photons in a gravitational field

I have been really staring for a while in a MP-Beiser book and I totally disagree with a statement he does there. On a page 85 he states that photons act as they have a mass $m$. He derives this by ...
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4answers
2k views

Does the future already exist? If so, which one?

In the NOVA Fabric of the Cosmos program, Brian Greene explains a theory in which there is no "now", or more specifically, now is relative. He describes an alien riding a bicycle on a far off planet ...
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6answers
303 views

Why are distant galaxies not actually tiny bits of matter?

Distant galaxies are said to be moving away from the Milky Way (and us) at speeds approaching the speed of light. Since Special Relativity tells us that any object moving away from us at a velocity of ...
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1answer
69 views

Are branes in 4D-spacetime moving, or are they static?

Given that a worldline, worldsheet, worldvolume, are representation in a 4D-spacetime of a point particle, a string or a brane, respectively, I was wondering if those objects necessarily have to be ...
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1answer
309 views

Degrees of freedom in the infinite momentum frame

Lenny Susskind explains in this video at about 40min, as an extended object (for example a relativistic string) is boosted to the infinite momentum frame (sometimes called light cone frame), it has no ...
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1answer
240 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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2answers
668 views

Am I faster than my shadow?

I guess that everything that happens to me (or I do), happens before my shadow "records" the information. Is that right? Is it the same for any observer?
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2answers
206 views

Cascade in relativistic turbulence

The Kolmogorov theory of turbulence indicates an energy cascade in turbulence. Is there a corresponding version of relativistic fluid?
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2answers
393 views

Blue-shifting as opposed to violet-shifting

A recent XKCD comic implies that the sky is blue as opposed to violet due to human physiology, and that animals more sensitive to shorter wavelengths will perceive the Earth's sky as the shortest ...
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1answer
164 views

Why is energy-momentum 4-vector so much easier to explore/observe than spacetime 4-vector

I have read that spacetime 4-vector is quite difficult to observe/explore and that energy-momentum 4-vector is much more appropriate for CERN etc. Why is that? Could anyone give me a brief ...
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2answers
380 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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4answers
298 views

Is there a default notation for 4-vectors while handwriting?

In printed paper 3-vectors can be denoted bold italic while 4-vectors can be denote just bold. While handwriting 3-vectors are denoted by arrows above letters. Is there a similar way to denote ...
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1answer
360 views

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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1answer
215 views

How to relate photon's higher frequency to time dilation?

The usual explanation for photon's higher frequency in lower altitudes (higher gravity), when the photon is going downward towards a massive body, is that gravitational potential energy is converted ...
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2answers
4k views

If nothing in the universe can travel faster than light, how come light can't escape a black hole? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How does gravity escape a black hole? If nothing in the universe can travel faster than light, how come light can't escape a black hole? I mean, Einstein's relativity ...
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1answer
421 views

Why are we talking about space curvature as if we know what space is? [closed]

1) Why are we talking about space curvature as if we know what space is? Every question about gravity seems to evoke an answer involving "space curvature" which seems like an undefined placeholder ...
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1answer
188 views

Light orbiting a massive body [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Can a photon be made to orbit a known (or undiscovered theoretical) body? How massive would a black hole have to be for light to orbit it at 1km away from the ...
5
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1answer
166 views

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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2answers
112 views

Causal reconnection

Can causally disconnected regions join up again? For example the universe is expanding faster than light creating cosmological horizon, but what if something causes the expansion to slow down and ...
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2answers
192 views

Is a compact universe consistent with the results of (for example) the Michelson-Morley experiment?

If the universe is compact then there is a twin paradox that is resolvable only by selecting a preferred inertial reference frame (arXiv). I was under the impression that the lack of a preferred ...
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1answer
53 views

Derivation of superluminality in astronomy

Can somebody provide derivation of the relativistic explanation of (apparent) superluminality in astronomy? The derivation on wikipedia seems to be a bit confusing.
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3answers
8k views

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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1answer
74 views

At what rate does radiation exposure occur at high-c speeds?

If a future astronaut travelled to Alpha Centauri at a significant percentage of light-speed? Apart from increased blue shifted radiation from their direction of travel - how would they experience ...
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1answer
270 views

What is the speed for an object that travel close to the speed of light?

I have some questions regarding Einsteins theory of Relativity that should be fairly easy to answer. Lets say we make an experiment where we have a rocket (with an astronaut inside) that travels very ...
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7answers
461 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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1answer
253 views

Confused about indices of the Ricci tensor

In an intro to GR book the Ricci tensor is given as: $$R_{\mu\nu}=\partial_{\lambda}\Gamma_{\mu \nu}^{\lambda}-\Gamma_{\lambda \sigma}^{\lambda}\Gamma_{\mu \nu}^{\sigma}-[\partial_{\nu}\Gamma_{\mu ...
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3answers
221 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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0answers
168 views

How do I extend the Lorentz transformation metric to dimensions>4?

How do I extend the general Lorentz transformation matrix (not just a boost along an axis, but in directions where the dx1/dt, dx2/dt, dx3/dt, components are all not zero. For eg. as on the Wikipedia ...
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2answers
452 views

How do I adjust the kinematic equations to avoid reaching speeds faster than light?

I like some 'science' in my 'science fiction', so I started crunching out the kinematic equations for some of the scenarios my characters are getting involved in, and ran smack dab into an issue. ...
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2answers
250 views

What if a normal digital clock used to measure time in twin paradox?

Last night I was watching a youtube video about twin paradox. It still continues to baffle me :). In that video, the speaker conceptualizes a clock that measures time by reflections of light. If we ...
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1answer
83 views

Does relativity apply to something experiencing Centripetal forces?

If I tie a rope to a clock and spin it over my head, would it lose synchronization with a clock sitting at my feet?
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3answers
3k views

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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5answers
508 views

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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2answers
338 views

length contraction question

we know from eintein's theory of relativity that lets say, a ruler is travelling to a speed if light, then we can say that the ruler (from our view as observers) has shorten. but why, lets say we have ...
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2answers
184 views

Using Einstein's Relativity: Who is younger?

Suppose we have a person A and a person B. Person B travels very close to speed of light and never returns. He's constant in speed. Then, we can say two things: B is younger than A. A is younger ...
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2answers
150 views

Relativistic mass as seen by different observers

Imagine there are two observers $A$ and $B$ and a particle $P$. $A$ and $B$ are at about the same point, $P$ is some distance away. From $A$'s point of view, $P$ has velocity $V$ and $B$ has ...
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3answers
172 views

When a high speed neutrino just misses an old neutron star, why isn't it trapped?

Suppose a neutrino is seen travelling so fast that its Lorentz gamma factor is 100,000. It races past an old, no longer active neutron star, narrowly missing it. As far as the neutrino is concerned, ...
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4answers
531 views

Is there an easy way to show that $x^2-t^2=1/g^2$ for a (relativistic) body undergoing acceleration g?

A professor asked me about the (c=1) equation: $$x^2 - t^2 = 1/g^2$$ which I used in a paper. Or with $c$: $$x^2 - (ct)^2 = c^4/g^2.$$ I told him that it was the exact equation of motion for a ...
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2answers
206 views

Finding wave-fuctions of a Dirac particle for given 4-momentum and spin 4-vector

I've been reading through various materials on relativistic quantum mechanics, but I find the lack of simple examples disturbing. I'm acquainted with the general form the solutions to the Dirac ...
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3answers
2k views

How to derive addition of velocities without the Lorentz transformation?

Lorentz contraction and time dilatation can be deduced without Lorentz transformation. Can you deduce also the theorem of addition of velocities $$w~=~\dfrac{u+v}{1+uv/c^2}$$ without Lorentz ...
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2answers
5k views

How can time be relative?

I don't understand how time can be relative to different observers, and I think my confusion is around how I understand what time is. I have always been told (and thought) that time is basically a ...
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2answers
107 views

The relativistic mechanics of a battery that is being charged and accelerated at the same time

This might be an interesting question: Let's attach a battery into one end of an electric cable. Then we rotate the battery around, with accelerating speed, using 100 Watts of power, while the ...
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5answers
2k views

Is acceleration relative?

A while back in my Dynamics & Relativity lectures my lecturer mentioned that an object need not be accelerating relative to anything - he said it makes sense for an object to just be accelerating. ...
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2answers
329 views

Finding the correct units for the energy-momentum tensor?

I'm trying to understand the energy-momentum tensor $T^{\mu\nu}$ but I'm confused about the units. My textbook says the components of $T^{\mu\nu}$ are $\mathrm{Jm^{-3}}$. Four-momentum is is given ...
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2answers
730 views

Mechanism by which electric and magnetic fields interrelate

I read that force due to electric field on some particle in one reference frame can exhibit itself as force due to magnetic field in some other reference frame and that electric and magnetic fields ...
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1answer
315 views

Thought experiment about acceleration

Case 1: two people wake up in spaceships accelerating at 1g. They can measure or observe anything inside the room but not outside. They couldn't determine if they were on a spaceship or on earth. ...
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1answer
307 views

Time travel to future [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is time travel possible? Is time travel possible? According to my friend, it is possible to go to the future but not the past. In Physics, particles move faster than ...
5
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1answer
245 views

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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0answers
42 views

Why has the ether been disregarded as a valid medium through which light can propagate? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Ether theory acceptance Although the Einstein's theory of relativity seemed to make the concept of an ether obsolete, did it necessarily invalidate it? Are there any ...
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1answer
204 views

What is the mass of individual components in a gravitationally bound system?

When material of rest mass M falls from infinity onto a black hole accretion disk, it gets heated and then emits so much light that the energy radiated away can measure up to about 30% or so of M c^2. ...