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15.1Tenets of General Relativity


Karl Schwarzschild determined the radius of a black hole, known as the event horizon: ... Solar-mass black holes would live much longer than the age of the ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: 15.1Tenets of General Relativity

CHAPTER 15General Relativity
  • 15.1 Tenets of General Relativity
  • 15.2 Tests of General Relativity
  • 15.3 Gravitational Waves
  • 15.4 Black Holes
  • 15.5 Frame Dragging

An excellent introductory General Relativity text
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
There is nothing in the world except empty,
curved space. Matter, charge, electromagnetism,
and other fields are only manifestations of the
curvature. - John Archibald Wheeler
Inertial Mass and Gravitational Mass
  • Recall from Newtons 2nd Law that an object
    accelerates in reaction to a force according to
    its inertial mass, mi
  • Inertial mass measures how strongly an object
    resists a change in its motion.
  • Gravitational mass, mg, measures how strongly it
    attracts and is attracted by other objects
  • Equating the forces, we get a ratio of masses
  • We always take the inertial and gravitational
    masses to be equal. Einstein considered this
    equivalence fundamental.

15.1 Tenets of General Relativity
  • General relativity is the extension of special
    relativity to non-inertial (accelerating) frames.
  • And because the effects of gravity and
    acceleration prove to be indistinguishable, it
    will also be a theory of gravity.
  • Its based on two concepts
  • (1) the principle of equivalencethe extension
    of Einsteins first postulate
    of special relativity to the case of
    non-inertial reference frames.
  • (2) the modeling of these effects as the
    curvature of space- time due to

Principle of Equivalence
  • The principle of equivalence is an experiment in
    non-inertial reference frames.
  • Consider an astronaut sitting in a confined space
    on a rocket at rest on Earth. The astronaut sits
    on a scale that indicates a mass M. The astronaut
    also drops a book that falls to the floor in the
    usual manner.

Principle of Equivalence
  • Now let the rocket accelerate through space,
    where grav-ity is negligible. If the
    acceleration is g, then the scale indicates the
    same mass M that it did on Earth, and the book
    still falls with the same acceleration as
    measured on earth.
  • The question is How can the astronaut tell
    whether the rocket is at rest on earth or
    accelerating in space?
  • Principle of equivalence There is no experiment
    that can be done in a small confined space that
    can detect the difference between a uniform
    gravitational field and an equivalent uniform

Light Deflection
  • Consider accelerating where gravity is
    negligible, with a window to allow a beam of
    starlight to enter the spacecraft. Since the
    velocity of light is finite, it takes time for
    the light to reach the spaceships opposite wall.
  • During this time, the rocket has accelerated
    upward. Inside the rocket, the light path bends
  • The principle of equivalence implies that, at
    rest on earth, light must also bend downward.

Curvature of Space and Geodesics
  • Lights constant velocity in special relativity
    implies that it travels in a straight line. Light
    bending for the Earth observer seems to violate
    this premise.
  • Einstein recognized that we need to expand the
    notion of a straight line.
  • The shortest distance between two points on a
    flat surface differs from

the shortest distance between points on a
sphere, which is curved. We shall expand our
definition of a straight line to mean the
minimum distance between two pointswhich may be
curved. Such a minimal distance on a curved
surface iscalled a Geodesic.
New York
Note that all paths are curved!
Curvature of Space
Thus if the space-time near a massive body is not
flat, then the straight-line path of light (and
other objects) near that body will appear curved.
The Unification of Mass and Space-time
  • Einstein postulated that the mass of the Earth
    creates a dimple on the space-time surface. In
    other words, the mass changes the geometry of
  • The geometry of space-time then tells matter how
    to move. Gravity is no longer a force, but,
    instead, a property (curvature) of space-time.
  • Einsteins famous field equations sum up this
    relationship as

Matter tells space-time how to curve. Space-time
curvature tells matter how to move.
Recall the Space-time Interval and Metric
Recall the space-time interval, Ds.
Ds2 Dx2 Dy2 Dz2 c2Dt2
This interval can be written in terms of the
space-time metric
The space-time metric
We can rewrite the expression for the space-time
This matrix will be the key quantity in general
relativity. And itll become more complicated
Summation notation
Notice that the summed indices occur once as
subscripts and again as superscripts
When the same index appears as a superscript and
a subscript, summation is assumed, and we can
omit the summation symbols. This is called
Einstein Summation Notation
In General Relativity, space is curved, and the
space-time metric can be more complex.
The more general metric coefficients of general
relativity (which may not be -1s, 0s, and 1s)
are denoted by gmn
Example An expanding (flat) universe
Ds2 a(t)2 Dx2 Dy2 Dz2 c2Dt2 where
a(t) t q
Values of q range from 1/2 (in a
radiation-dominated universe) to 2/3 (in a
matter-dominated universe).
The Mathematics of General Relativity Tensors
A Tensor is a function of one or more vectors
that yields a real number.
gmn is a Tensor. It takes two input vectors and
yields a number, the interval
Because gmn operates on two vectors, we say its
a tensor of Rank 2. Example a vector can undergo
dot products with other vectors to yield a
number, so its a tensor of Rank 1. Scalars have
Rank zero. The rank is also the number of indices
on the tensor and the dimension of the matrix
necessary to write it down.
The Mathematics of General Relativity
General Relativity distinguishes between vectors
and tensors that are covariant (with lower
indices) and contravariant (with upper indices).
To raise or lower an index, simply multiply by
the metric
Ordinarily, we dont usually have to worry about
this because our metric is simple, and covariant
and contravariant tensors are essentially the
To raise the indices of the metric gmn itself,
just take its inverse
The Geodesic Equation
In Newtonian space, geodesics are straight lines,
and one way of saying this is that acceleration
is zero
where t is proper time, and xa is the position
vs. t of a test particle. In curved space, this
expression generalizes to
where is called a Christoffel symbol and
is given by
The Ricci Curvature
The curvature of space-time is complicated
because there are several dimensions, and the
curvature at each point can be different in each
dimension (including time). Think of a saddle in
two dimensions
The curvature of space-time is given by the Ricci
The Einstein tensor, Gmn is a related measure of
the curvature.
The Einstein tensor can be written in terms of
the Ricci tensor
where R is the trace of the Ricci tensor.
Matters effect on space-time occurs through the
stress-energy tensor, T.
Ttt is the mass-energy density Txt , Tyt and Tzt
are how fast the matter is movingits
momentum Txx , Tyy and Tzz are the pressures in
each of the three directions Txy , Txz and Tyz
are the stresses in the matter
Einsteins Field Equations
This set of coupled nonlinear partial
differential equations (one for each element)
relates the curvature of space, Gmn, to the
energy-momentum tensor, Tmn
Only six component equations are independent.
and where G is the usual gravitational constant.
The goal is to solve for gmn, for all values of
m and n. In free space, where Tmn 0, this
reduces to
The correspondence principle Einsteins Field
Equations reduce to Newton's law of gravity in
the weak-field and slow-motion limit. In fact,
the above constant (8p G / c4) is determined this
The spherically symmetrical case the
Schwarzschild Solution
Using spherical coordinates, r, q, f, and
spherical symmetry, we can solve Einsteins Field
Equations for the metric to find
The other elements of gmn are zero, and Note
that, when r 2GM/c2 (called the Schwarzchild
radius), this becomes
Whats going on?
15.4 Black Holes
Escape velocity and black holes
An object will escape from a massive body when
its kinetic energy equals or exceeds its
gravitational potential energy
Consider the case that the escape velocity is the
speed of light
Yeah, we probably shouldnt use the
non-relativistic expression for the kinetic
energy here
This can only occur when the mass M is crammed
into a radius r
The Schwarzschild radius!
Black Holes and Event Horizons
  • When a stars thermonuclear fuel is depleted, no
    heat is left to counteract the force of gravity,
    which becomes dominant. The stars mass collapses
    into an incredibly dense ball that could warp
    space-time enough to not allow light to escape.
    The point at the center is called a singularity.

A collapsing star greater than 3 solar masses
will distort space-time in this way to create a
black hole. Karl Schwarzschild determined the
radius of a black hole, known as the event
Hawking Radiation
Event horizon
  • Due to quantum fluctuations, particle-antiparticle
    pairs are created near the event horizon. One
    particle falls into the singularity as the other
    escapes. Antiparticles that escape radiate as
    they annihilate with matter.

Black hole
Hawking calculated the blackbody temperature of
the black hole to be
k is Boltzmanns constant
The power radiated is
s is the Stefan-Boltzmann constant from blackbody
Black Hole Evaporation
  • Small primordial black holes (10-19 solar masses)
    could be detected by their Hawking radiation, but
    it is negligible for other black holes.
  • Energy expended to pair production at the event
    horizon decreases the total mass-energy of the
    black hole, causing the black hole to slowly
    evaporate with a lifetime

Stephen Hawking
n is a constant 1 / 15,360p
The smaller the mass the shorter the lifetime.
Solar-mass black holes would live much longer
than the age of the universe, but small black
holes (lt1014 g, about the size of a mountain)
would explode.
Black Hole Detection
  • Since light cant escape, black holes must be
    detected indirectly.

Mass falling into a black hole would emit x rays
Black Hole Candidates
  • Several plausible candidates
  • Cygnus X-1 is an x-ray emitter and part of a
    binary system. Its roughly 7 solar masses.
  • The galactic center of M87 is 3 billion solar
  • That of NGC 4261 is a billion solar masses.

15.2 Tests of General Relativity
  • Bending of Light
  • A total solar eclipse allowed viewing starlight
    passing close to the sun in 1919. It was bent,
    causing the star to appear displaced.
  • Einsteins theory predicted a deflection of 1.75
    seconds of arc, and two measurements found 1.98
    0.16 and 1.61 0.40 seconds.
  • Many more experiments, using starlight and radio
    waves from quasars, have confirmed Einsteins
    predictions about the bending of light with
    increasing accuracy.

Gravitational Lensing
When light from a distant (here blue) object like
a quasar passes by a nearby object on its way to
us on Earth, the light can be bent to give
multiple images as it passes in different
directions around the nearby object.
The Cosmic Horseshoe
Gravitational Red-shift
  • Another test of general relativity is the
    predicted frequency change of light near a
    massive object.
  • A light pulse traveling vertically upward from
    the surface of a massive body will gain potential
    energy and lose kinetic energy, as with a rock
    thrown straight up.
  • Since a light pulses energy depends on its
    frequency n through E hn, as the light pulse
    travels vertically, its frequency decreases.
  • This phenomenon is called gravitational red-shift.

Gravitational Red-shift Experiments
  • An experiment conducted in a tall tower measured
    the blue shift in frequency of a light pulse sent
    down the tower. The energy gained when traveling
    downward a distance H is mgH. If n is the
    frequency of light at the top and n is the
    frequency at the bottom, energy conservation
    gives hn hn mgH.
  • The effective mass of light is m E / c2
    h n / c2.
  • This yields the relative frequency shift
  • Or in general
  • Using gamma rays, the frequency ratio was
    observed to be

in agreement with that predicted for the relevant
tower height, H.
Gravitational Time Dilation
  • The frequency of a clock decreases near a massive
    body, so a clock in a gravitational field runs
    more slowly.
  • A very accurate experiment was done by comparing
    the frequency of an atomic clock flown on a Scout
    D rocket to an altitude of 10,000 km with the
    frequency of a similar clock on the ground. The
    measurement agreed with Einsteins general
    relativity theory to within 0.02.

Perihelion Shift of Mercury
  • The orbits of the planets are ellipses, and the
    point closest to the sun is called the
    perihelion. It has been known for hundreds of
    years that Mercurys orbit precesses about the
    sun. After accounting for the perturbations of
    the other planets, 43 seconds of arc per century
    remained unexplained by classical physics.

The curvature of space-time explained by general
relativity accounted for the 43 seconds of arc
shift in the orbit of Mercury.
Light Retardation
  • The path of the light passing by a massive object
    is longer due to the space-time curvature,
    causing a delay for a light pulse traveling close
    to the sun.
  • This effect was measured by sending a radar wave
    to Venus, where it was reflected back to Earth
    near the sun. It saw a delay of about 200 ms, in
    excellent agreement with the general theory.

15.3 Gravitational Waves
  • When a charge accelerates, the electric field
    surrounding the charge redistributes itself. This
    change in the electric field produces an
    electromagnetic wave, which is easily detected.
    In much the same way, an accelerated mass should
    also produce gravitational waves.
  • Gravitational waves carry energy and momentum,
    travel at the speed of light, and are
    characterized by frequency and wavelength.

Gravitational waves
As gravitational waves pass through space-time,
they cause small ripples. The stretching and
shrinking is on the order of 1 part in 1021 even
due to a strong gravitational wave source.
Due to their small magnitude, gravitational waves
would be difficult to detect. Large astronomical
events could create measurable space-time waves
such as the collapse of a neutron star, a black
hole or the Big Bang. This effect has been
likened to noticing a single grain of sand added
to all the beaches of Long Island, New York.
Gravitational Wave Experiments
  • Taylor and Hulse discovered a binary system of
    two neutron stars that lose energy due to
    gravitational waves that agrees with the
    predictions of general relativity.
  • LIGO is a large Michelson interferometer device
    that uses four test masses on two arms of the
    interferometer. The device will detect changes
    in length of the arms due to a passing wave.

NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are
jointly developing a space-based probe called the
Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) which
will measure fluctuations in its triangular shape.
15.5 Frame Dragging
  • Josef Lense and Hans Thirring proposedin 1918
    that a rotat-ing body can literally drag
    space-time around with it as it rotates. This
    effect is called frame dragging.
  • It was observed in 1997 by noticing fluctuating x
    rays from several rotating black holes. The
    objects were precessing from the space-time
    dragging along with it.
  • Also, planes of satellite orbits shift 2 m per
    year in the direction of the Earths rotationin
    agreement with the predictions of the theory.
  • Global Positioning Systems (GPS) have to utilize
    relativistic corrections for the precise atomic
    clocks on the satellites.

Machs Principle
So what causes inertial mass, and what determines
which frames are inertial and which are not? Mach
speculated that inertial frames are those that
have constant velocity with respect to the fixed
stars, that is, the rest of the universe.
Ernst Mach (1838-1916)
Gödels Rotating Universe
Einstein acknowledged Machs ideas in his
writings on GR, but GR actually violates it! In
Gödels rotating universe, GR yields different
trajectories with respect to the fixed stars than
it does in a stationary universe.
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