As a consequence of the Lorentz transformations, time and space transform into each other when changing reference frame. This calls for a unified description: Minkowski spacetime.

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Why do objects follow geodesics in spacetime?

Trying to teach myself general relativity. I sort of understand the derivation of the geodesic equation $$\frac{d^{2}x^{\alpha}}{d\tau^{2}}+\Gamma_{\gamma\beta}^{\alpha}\frac{dx^{\beta}}{d\tau}\frac{...
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If the observable universe were compressed into a super massive black hole, how big would it be?

I understand only a little of general relativity, but that's why I'm here! :) Consider the hypothetical situation of some extra-terrestrial intelligence pushing all the mass in the observable ...
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Minkowski spacetime: Is there a signature (+,+,+,+)?

In history there was an attempt to reach (+, +, +, +) by replacing "ct" with "ict", still employed today in form of the "Wick rotation". Wick rotation supposes that time is imaginary. I wonder if ...
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Does vacuum (empty space) exist? [closed]

Added: 5 times down vote for now! Down voter is this religion or physics, please try to explain your decision. I'm confused about this. In physics we know for a vacuum, but I think that there is a ...
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718 views

How Does Hubble's Expansion Affect Two Rope-Tied Galaxies?

Suppose we have two galaxies that are sufficiently far apart so that the distance between them increases due to Hubble's expansion. If I were to connect these two galaxies with a rope, would there be ...
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What is imaginary time? [duplicate]

I am not professional physicist; but I am curious about Stephen Hawking's "imaginary time". It would be better to elaborate exactly what it is. I am not confused because of the word "imaginary" but I ...
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What is meant when it is said that the universe is homogeneous and isotropic?

It is sometimes said that the universe is homogeneous and isotropic. What is meant by each of these descriptions? Are they mutually exclusive, or does one require the other? And what implications rise ...
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Expansion of the Universe, will light from some galaxies never reach us?

Is it true that the light from some galaxies will never reach us? The explanation for that is that the Universe expanding faster than the speed of light. But, if the speed of light is constant in ...
5
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397 views

Gravitational waves and time

Two questions. It is said that time can only go slower in gravity fields and if you move faster. I have heard that when a gravitational wave pass earth then the space/time vibrate and time change ...
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Is the Planck length the smallest length that exists in the universe or is it the smallest length that can be observed?

I have heard both that Planck length is the smallest length that there is in the universe (whatever this means) and that it is the smallest thing that can be observed because if we wanted to observe ...
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Has the concept of non-integer $(n+m)$-dimensional spacetime ever been investigated by theoretical physicists?

The following image serves to aid the reader in understanding the "privileged character" of $3+1$-spacetime. The wikipedia article on spacetime, and the sub-article "The priveleged character of $3+...
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Visualizing gravity in 3D

We've all seen the depiction of gravity bending space downwards, and so attracting objects into the dent it creates, cf. e.g. this and this Phys.SE posts. That's intuitive and makes a lot of sense, ...
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Can spacetime be non-orientable?

This question asks what constraints there are on the global topology of spacetime from the Einstein equations. It seems to me the quotient of any global solution can in turn be a global solution. In ...
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Is space “real”, or is it some sort of accepted postulate?

What is space? It seems to be everywhere in the equations of physics, as some sort of postulate or hidden hypothesis. We also have a direct experience of it, but is it "real"? The fact that we ...
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5answers
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Naive visualization of space-time curvature

With only a limited knowledge of general relativity, I usually explain space-time curvature (to myself and others) thus: "If you throw a ball, it will move along a parabola. Initially its vertical ...
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Does String theory say that spacetime is not fundamental but should be considered an emergent phenomenon?

Does String theory say that spacetime is not fundamental but should be considered an emergent phenomenon? If so, can quantum mechanics describe the universe at high energies where there is no ...
2
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2answers
628 views

Visualizing GR spacetime distortion in 1+1D spacetime instead of 2D space

Usually spacetime distortion due to mass in GR is visualized as a rubber sheet distorted under some massive object, like this: source or as shown in this link. But what has always bothered me is ...
6
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Why does string theory require 9 dimensions of space and one dimension of time?

String theorists say that there are many more dimensions out there, but they are too small to be detected. However, I do not understand why there are ten dimensions and not just any other number? ...
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What are some approaches to discrete space-time used in modern physics?

This thought gave rise to some new questions in my mind. What are the consequences for: How would it affect duality i.e. particle, wave property of photons? How does this statement affect the ...
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Is the universe finite and discrete?

Is the universe finite, both in the sense of being a closed spacetime manifold, as viewed from the macro level, but also in the sense of being fully discrete and finite in all of its intricate quantum ...
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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 ...
8
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347 views

If space is “expanding” in itself - why then is there redshift?

The "kid's" way of understanding the expanding universe is that: "space" is totally "ordinary", and all the galaxies are expanding through it (like an explosion). Of course, that's wrong. The usual ...
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How does the curvature of spacetime induce gravitational attraction?

I don't know how to ask this more clearly than in the title.
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If two ends were a certain “length” apart were they therefore at rest (or at least rigid) to each other? [closed]

Considering the definition of the SI unit of "length" [1] and [2 (" method a.")] I'm missing any requirements about the two "ends" of the required "path travelled by light" being "at rest to each ...
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4answers
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How energy curves spacetime?

We know through General Relativity (GR) that matter curves spacetime (ST) like a "ball curves a trampoline" but then how energy curves spacetime? Is it just like matter curvature of ST?
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Is String Theory formulated in flat or curved spacetime?

String Theory is formulated in 10 or 11 (or 26?) dimensions where it is assumed that all of the space dimensions except for 3 (large) space dimensions and 1 time dimension are a compact manifold with ...
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Does General Relativity imply loops in space?

Everyone who has been interested in modern science has heard explanations (certainly simplifications) of general relativity, mostly that space is curved. The analogy with a rubber sheet is popular. In ...
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Why is time special?

In Special Relativity, the spacetime interval between two events is $s^2 = -(c{\Delta}t)^2+({\Delta}x)^2+({\Delta}y)^2+({\Delta}z)^2$ giving the Minkowski metric $\eta_{\mu\nu}=\text{diag}(-1, 1, 1, 1)...
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What is the extent of the universe?

Is there any realistic, understandable, provable (even in some extent) explanation/model for the extent of the universe? What is its shape? and Why? I mean physical explanations not philosophical ...
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825 views

Reducing General Relativity to Special Relativity in limiting case

I understand that general relativity is applicable to gravitational fields and special relativity is applicable to case when there is no gravity. But is there a derivation on how to reduce General ...
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1answer
347 views

Is time an illusion? [closed]

IS time an illusion? I have tried thought experiment after TE and quite frankly I can't find any instance where time is defined wholly on its own. It is always a measurement of the interim between to ...
2
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2answers
950 views

What is the physical meaning of the Eddington-Finkelstein coordinates?

What is the physical meaning of the Eddington-Finkelstein coordinates? I want to see a some physical process (experimental) that could explain the many transformations of coordinates into this ...
2
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1answer
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What is the relativistic calculation of travel time to Proxima Centauri?

It has already been asked here how fast a probe would have to travel to reach Alpha Centauri within 60 years. NASA has done some research into a probe that would take 100 years to make the trip. But ...
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Is it possible for one black hole to pull an object out of another black hole?

Suppose we have a spacecraft just inside the event horizon of a black hole, struggling to escape, but slowly receding into it. Another (bigger) black hole expands until its event horizon includes the ...
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Is anyone studying how the general topology of spacetime arises from more fundamental notions?

Stephen Wolfram in his book A New Kind of Science touches on a model of space itself based on automata theory. That it, he makes some suggestions about modelling not only the behaviour of matter ...
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If something is not moving in space, is it moving on the time axis at the speed of light? [duplicate]

I heard this theory yesterday: If something is not moving in space, then it is moving on the time axis at the speed of light. I realize that in essence there is no object which can be considered as "...
3
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1answer
241 views

Regarding the possibility of Closed Timelike Curves

I've been looking a lot at Closed Timelike Curves, and how if a theory allows for these curves it doesn't respect causality. I understand that about the curves themselves (Grandfather Paradox), but ...
3
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1answer
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Voyager local time dilation (caused by gravity)

Voyager I, as an example, taking account gravity and setting aside effects of speed as cause of time dilation. If it is very far away from earth and sun, so then there must be a difference in the ...
3
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3answers
323 views

How does warped space actually look (visually)?

Recently, I was reading about space warping due to extreme gravity and at speeds approaching c, but in books, they always show space in 2D and depth to show space distortion. I was wondering how ...
3
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1answer
419 views

Can an object be infinitely small?

I read somewhere that the earth has to be smaller than 1 cm to become a black hole, according to Schwarzschild. Since big bang came from a singularity, I am wondering, is there any minimum volume for ...
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247 views

How can space expand?

How can space expand when it is only a perception of the separation between at least 2 objects. Isn't saying "space expands" implying it has properties?
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400 views

Why do things slow down when you move faster, rather than speed up?

I've been trying to get to grips with SpaceTime. As I understand it, we move at a set rate through spacetime. Any increase in our rate of travel through space results in a decrease in our rate of ...
1
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2answers
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If the universe is 3D, how is space-time like a “fabric”? [duplicate]

I have been taught that space-time should be viewed as a fabric and that objects with a large gravitational influence indent that fabric. My question is, if the singularity of a black-hole punctures ...
8
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3answers
204 views

Why doesn't $ds^2 = 0$ imply two distinct points $p$ and $p'$ on a manifold are the same point?

Let's suppose I have a spacetime manifold $M$. Let $p$ be a point on my manifold. Now I move from $p$ to some other point $p'$. Presumably I should have moved some "distance" right? How can I speak of ...
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Measuring the speed of light and defining the metre - absolute or relative?

If the metre is now defined as the distance light travels in vacuum in 1⁄299,792,458th of a second and the speed of light is accepted to be ...
5
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2answers
134 views

Which causal structures are absent from any “nice” patch of Minkowski space?

Which "causal separation structures" (or "interval structures") can not be found among the events in "any nice patch ($P$) of Minkowski space"?, where "causal separation structure" ($s$) should be ...
3
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2answers
272 views

Is the popular explanation given for gravity in General Relativity misleading? [duplicate]

In most popular explanations of General Relativity, both in print and film/television, gravity is demonstrated using an example of a 2 dimensional plane being flat, then when putting a heavy object in ...
2
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3answers
470 views

Is space-time a special form of energy?

I know space-time can be influenced by matter and energy, so it must be somehow mingled in with the mix of it all, but does space-time have a fundamental particle? Can we make a little bit of space-...
2
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2answers
210 views

What are the factors affecting the spacetime curvature?

Large masses in space as stars and planets cause a curvature in the spacetime fabric. What are the factors that affect this curvature? Is it only mass? And can we conclude these factors using Tensors?
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546 views

If the Big Bang theory suggests that the Universe is “expanding” then what is it expanding INTO? [duplicate]

I am a software engineer and not an astrophysicist but I want to know if anyone is working on sorting out what exists outside the universe? So what about outside spacetime? what is there? or shall I ...