Infinitesimal Mass & Distant Space: GR Effects

  • Thread starter Blayde Keel
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In summary: There is no clear answer, as the effects of mass on the vacuum are still being studied and debated. However, there is some evidence to suggest that the vacuum may become less stable in certain situations, similar to the way that a massive object would affect space-time.
  • #1
In general relativity what happens when two masses approaching zero, are separated by a distance approaching infinity? Is there a condition in general relativity where a lack of mass can warp space-time up instead of a massive object putting a dent in it? I think I am asking what happens to GR in conditions opposite to those of a black hole.
I can see things better if I know what happens when values --> infinity vs values --> zero.
 
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  • #2
Blayde Keel said:
In general relativity what happens when two masses approaching zero, are separated by a distance approaching infinity? Is there a condition in general relativity where a lack of mass can warp space-time up instead of a massive object putting a dent in it? I think I am asking what happens to GR in conditions opposite to those of a black hole.
I can see things better if I know what happens when values --> infinity vs values --> zero.

As the masses approach zero, the spacetime becomes flatter, gravitational effects become smaller, and things start to look more and more like empty space with no gravitating bodies anywhere.

Your mention of "a massive object putting a dent in [space-time]" suggests that you are thinking in terms of the very common picture showing a heavy object sitting on a sheet of elastic material, something like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Spacetime_curvature.png

Try to put that picture out of your mind, as it is very misleading. If you search this forum for "rubber sheet" you'll find some discussion about why it is so misleading.
 
  • #3
Thank you and I will look up the problems involved in the "rubber sheet" view of space-time.
 
  • #4
I looked at the discussions about the "rubber sheet." I need to get another concept right. GR talks about flat space, quantum physics talks about the vacuum; both would be low mass but they are not the same thing, right?
 
  • #5
Let me rephrase my last question, of course they are not the same, the whole universe operates in a vacuum; what I meant to ask was; would an area of space with mass --> zero affect the vacuum? In the great voids between the galaxies is the vacuum affected by the absence of matter?
 

1. What is an infinitesimal mass?

An infinitesimal mass is a theoretical concept in physics that refers to a mass that is infinitely small, approaching zero. It is used to describe the behavior of particles at the subatomic level and is a key component in understanding quantum mechanics.

2. How does general relativity affect the concept of infinitesimal mass?

In general relativity, the concept of infinitesimal mass is important in understanding the behavior of objects in the presence of strong gravitational fields. According to general relativity, the curvature of space-time caused by a massive object can affect the path of light and the motion of particles, including those with infinitesimal mass.

3. What is the significance of distant space in general relativity?

Distant space, also known as cosmological space, is a key component in general relativity. It refers to the large-scale structure of the universe and how it evolves over time. General relativity provides a framework for understanding the behavior of matter and energy in this vast and complex space.

4. How do general relativity effects impact our understanding of the universe?

The effects of general relativity, such as the bending of light and the expansion of the universe, have greatly influenced our understanding of the universe. These effects have been observed and measured through various experiments and have helped us develop theories and models to explain the behavior of the universe.

5. Can general relativity explain the behavior of objects with both infinitesimal mass and in distant space?

Yes, general relativity is considered the most accurate theory to explain the behavior of objects with infinitesimal mass and in distant space. It has been successfully used to predict and explain various phenomena, such as the bending of starlight near massive objects and the expansion of the universe.

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