As described by the Kerr solution of Einstein's gravitational field equations, its spacetime geometry is completely characterized by only two numbers — mass and spin — and is sometimes described by the aphorism "black holes have no hair.''
A particle orbiting a rotating black hole always conserves its energy and angular momentum, but otherwise traces a complicated twisting rosette pattern with no discernible regularity.But in 1968, theoretical physicist and cosmologist Brandon Carter showed that the particle's wild gyrations nevertheless hold another variable fixed, which was named the "Carter constant.'' The true meaning of Carter's constant still remains somewhat mysterious 40 years after its discovery.
What's more, the deviation of the field's shape from being spherical is determined by a set of equations that are identical to those for Kerr black holes.
In his article "Carter-like Constants of the Motion in Newtonian Gravity and Electrodynamics" in the Feb. 12 issue of Physical Review Letters, Will points out that one Newtonian system that exhibits this property is surprisingly simple: two equal point masses at rest separated by a fixed distance.
"I was completely stunned when I saw that the Newtonian condition for a Carter constant was identical to the condition imposed by the black hole no-hair theorems," said Will. "Do I know why this happens? So far, not a clue.
"But what I really hope is that insights gained about this strange constant in the simpler Newtonian context will teach us something about how small black holes orbit around rotating massive black holes in general relativity, where the relativistic Carter constant plays a key role."
This will have implications for gravitational-wave astronomy, he says, because the signal from such events may be detectable by the advanced LIGO-VIRGO-GEO network of ground-based laser interferometric detectors or by the proposed space-based LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna).
Will, who is also a visiting associate at the Institute of Astrophysics in Paris, is a theoretical physicist whose research interests encompass the observational and astrophysical implications of Einstein's general theory of relativity, including gravitational radiation, black holes, cosmology, the physics of curved spacetime and the interpretation of experimental tests of general relativity.
Will's "Was Einstein Right?" (1986) won the American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award. His "Theory and Experiment in Gravitational Physics" (1981) is considered the bible of the field.
His research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Programme Internationale de la Cooperation Scientifique.
Sue McGinn | EurekAlert!
Further reports about: > Energy > Gravitation > LIGO-VIRGO-GEO > Laser Interferometer Space Antenna > Physic > Science TV > Space > angular momentum > baldness of rotating black holes > black hole > black holes > gravitational field > ground-based laser interferometric detectors > rotating black hole > twisting rosette pattern
When AI and optoelectronics meet: Researchers take control of light properties
20.11.2018 | Institut national de la recherche scientifique - INRS
How to melt gold at room temperature
20.11.2018 | Chalmers University of Technology
Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.
Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
19.11.2018 | Event News
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
20.11.2018 | Life Sciences
20.11.2018 | Life Sciences
20.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy