Kerr metric

Kerr metric

In general relativity, the Kerr metric (or Kerr vacuum) describes the geometry of spacetime around a rotating massive body. According to this metric, such rotating bodies should exhibit frame dragging, an unusual prediction of general relativity; measurement of this frame dragging effect is a major goal of the Gravity Probe B experiment. Roughly speaking, this effect predicts that objects coming close to a rotating mass will be entrained to participate in its rotation, not because of any applied force or torque that can be felt, but rather because the curvature of spacetime associated with rotating bodies. At close enough distances, all objects — even light itself — "must" rotate with the body; the region where this holds is called the ergosphere.

The Kerr metric is often used to describe rotating black holes, which exhibit even more exotic phenomena. Such black holes have two surfaces where the metric appears to have a singularity; the size and shape of these surfaces depends on the black hole's mass and angular momentum. The outer surface encloses the ergosphere and has a shape similar to a flattened sphere. The inner surface is spherical and marks the "radius of no return"; objects passing through this radius can never again communicate with the world outside that radius. However, neither surface is a true singularity, since their apparent singularity can be eliminated in a different coordinate system. Objects between these two horizons must co-rotate with the rotating body, as noted above; this feature can be used to extract energy from a rotating black hole, up to its invariant mass energy, "Mc"2. Even stranger phenomena can be observed within the innermost region of this spacetime, such as some forms of time travel. For example, the Kerr metric permits closed, time-like loops in which a band of travellers returns to the same place after moving for a finite time by their own clock; however, they return to the same place "and time", as seen by an outside observer.

The Kerr metric is an exact solution of the Einstein field equations of general relativity; these equations are highly non-linear, which makes exact solutions very difficult to find. The Kerr metric is a generalization of the Schwarzschild metric, which was discovered by Karl Schwarzschild in 1916 and which describes the geometry of spacetime around an uncharged, perfectly spherical, and non-rotating body. The corresponding solution for a "charged", spherical, non-rotating body, the Reissner-Nordström metric, was discovered shortly after (1916-1918). However, the exact solution for an uncharged, "rotating" body, the Kerr metric, remained unsolved until 1963, when it was discovered by Roy Kerr. The natural extension to a charged, rotating body, the Kerr-Newman metric, was discovered shortly afterwards in 1965. These four related solutions may be summarized by the following table:

where "Q" represents the body's electric charge and "J" represents its spin angular momentum.

Mathematical form

The Kerr metriccite journal | last = Kerr | first = RP | authorlink = Roy Kerr | year = 1963 | title = [ Gravitational field of a spinning mass as an example of algebraically special metrics] | journal = Physical Review Letters | volume = 11 | pages = 237–238 | doi = 10.1103/PhysRevLett.11.237] [cite book | last = Landau | first = LD | authorlink = Lev Landau | coauthors = Lifshitz, EM | year = 1975 | title = The Classical Theory of Fields (Course of Theoretical Physics, Vol. 2) | edition = revised 4th English ed. | publisher = Pergamon Press | location = New York | isbn = 978-0-08-018176-9 |pages = pp. 321–330] describes the geometry of spacetime in the vicinity of a mass "M" rotating with angular momentum "J"

:c^{2} d au^{2} = left( 1 - frac{r_{s} r}{ ho^{2 ight) c^{2} dt^{2} - frac{ ho^{2{Lambda^{2 dr^{2} - ho^{2} d heta^{2} -::::left( r^{2} + alpha^{2} + frac{r_{s} r alpha^{2{ ho^{2 sin^{2} heta ight) sin^{2} heta dphi^{2} + frac{2r_{s} ralpha sin^{2} heta }{ ho^{2 , c , dt , dphi

where the coordinates r, heta, phi are standard spherical coordinate system, and "r""s" is the Schwarzschild radius

:r_{s} = frac{2GM}{c^{2

and where the length-scales α, ρ and Λ have been introduced for brevity

:alpha = frac{J}{Mc}

: ho^{2} = r^{2} + alpha^{2} cos^{2} heta

: Lambda^{2} = r^{2} - r_{s} r + alpha^{2}

In the non-relativistic limit where "M" (or, equivalently, "r""s") goes to zero, the Kerr metric becomes the orthogonal metric for the oblate spheroidal coordinates

:c^{2} d au^{2} = c^{2} dt^{2} - frac{ ho^{2{r^{2} + alpha^{2 dr^{2} - ho^{2} d heta^{2}- left( r^{2} + alpha^{2} ight) sin^{2} heta dphi^{2}

which are equivalent to the Boyer-Lindquist coordinates [cite journal | last = Boyer | first = RH | coauthors = Lindquist RW | year = 1967 | title = Maximal Analytic Extension of the Kerr Metric | journal = J. Math. Phys. | volume = 8 | pages = 265–281 | doi = 10.1063/1.1705193]

:{x} = sqrt {r^2 + alpha^2} sin hetacosphi:{y} = sqrt {r^2 + alpha^2} sin hetasinphi:{z} = r cos heta quad

Frame dragging

We may re-write the Kerr metric in the following form

:c^{2} d au^{2} = left( g_{tt} - frac{g_{tphi}^{2{g_{phiphi ight) dt^{2}+ g_{rr} dr^{2} + g_{ heta heta} d heta^{2} + g_{phiphi} left( dphi + frac{g_{tphi{g_{phiphi dt ight)^{2}.

This metric is equivalent to a co-rotating reference frame that is rotating with angular speed Ω that depends on both the radius "r" and the colatitude θ

:Omega = -frac{g_{tphi{g_{phiphi = frac{r_{s} alpha r}{ ho^{2} left( r^{2} + alpha^{2} ight) + r_{s} alpha^{2} r sin^{2} heta}.

Thus, an inertial reference frame is entrained by the rotating central mass to participate in the latter's rotation; this is frame-dragging, which has been observed experimentally.

Important surfaces

The Kerr metric has two surfaces on which it appears to be singular. The inner surface corresponds to a spherical event horizon similar to that observed in the Schwarzschild metric; this occurs where the purely radial component "grr" of the metric goes to infinity. Solving the quadratic equation 1/"g""rr" = 0 yields the solution

:r_mathit{inner} = frac{r_{s} + sqrt{r_{s}^{2} - 4alpha^{2}{2}

Another singularity occurs where the purely temporal component "gtt" of the metric changes sign from positive to negative. Again solving a quadratic equation "gtt"=0 yields the solution

:r_mathit{outer} = frac{r_{s} + sqrt{r_{s}^{2} - 4alpha^{2} cos^{2} heta{2}

Due to the cos2θ term in the square root, this outer surface resembles a flattened sphere that touches the inner surface at the poles of the rotation axis, where the colatitude θ equals 0 or π; the space between these two surfaces is called the ergosphere. There are two other solutions to these quadratic equations, but they lie within the event horizon, where the Kerr metric is not used, since it has unphysical properties (see below).

A moving particle experiences a positive proper time along its worldline, its path through spacetime. However, this is impossible within the ergosphere, where "gtt" is negative, unless the particle is co-rotating with the interior mass "M" with an angular speed at least of Ω. Thus, no particle can rotate opposite to the central mass within the ergosphere.

As with the event horizon in the Schwarzschild metric the apparent singularities at rinner and router are an illusion created by the choice of coordinates (i.e., they are coordinate singularities). In fact, the space-time can be smoothly continued through them by an appropriate choice of coordinates.

Ergosphere and the Penrose process

A black hole in general is surrounded by a spherical surface, the event horizon situated at the Schwarzschild radius (for a nonrotating black hole), where the escape velocity is equal to the velocity of light. Within this surface, no observer/particle can maintain itself at a constant radius. It is forced to fall inwards, and so this is sometimes called the "static limit".

A rotating black hole has the same static limit at the Schwarzschild radius but there is an additional surface outside the Schwarzschild radius named the "ergosurface" given by (r-GM)^{2} = G^{2}M^{2}-J^{2}cos^{2} heta in Boyer-Lindquist coordinates, which can be intuitively characterized as the sphere where "the rotational velocity of the surrounding space" is dragged along with the velocity of light. Within this sphere the dragging is greater than the speed of light, and any observer/particle is forced to co-rotate.

The region outside the event horizon but inside the sphere where the rotational velocity is the speed of light, is called the "ergosphere" (from Greek "ergon" meaning "work"). Particles falling within the ergosphere are forced to rotate faster and thereby gain energy. Because they are still outside the event horizon, they may escape the black hole. The net process is that the rotating black hole emits energetic particles at the cost of its own total energy. The possibility of extracting spin energy from a rotating black hole was first proposed by the mathematician Roger Penrose in 1969 and is thus called the Penrose process. Rotating black holes in astrophysics are a potential source of large amounts of energy and are used to explain energetic phenomena, such as gamma ray bursts.

Features of the Kerr vacuum

The Kerr vacuum exhibits many noteworthy features: the maximal analytic extension includes a sequence of asymptotically flat exterior regions, each associated with an ergosphere, stationary limit surfaces, event horizons, Cauchy horizons, closed timelike curves, and a ring-shaped curvature singularity. The geodesic equation can be solved exactly in closed form. In addition to two Killing vector fields (corresponding to "time translation" and "axisymmetry"), the Kerr vacuum admits a remarkable Killing tensor. There is a pair of principal null congruences (one "ingoing" and one "outgoing"). The Weyl tensor is algebraically special, in fact it has Petrov type D. The global structure is known. Topologically, the homotopy type of the Kerr spacetime can be simply characterized as a line with circles attached at each integer point.

While the Kerr vacuum is an exact axis-symmetric solution to Einstein's field equations, the solution is probably not stable in the interior region of the black hole (Penrose, 1968). The stable interior solution is probably not axis-symmetric. The instability of the Kerr metric in the interior region implies that many of the features of the Kerr vacuum described above would probably not be present in a black hole that came into being through gravitational collapse.

A surface on which light can orbit a black hole is called a photon sphere. The Kerr solution has two photon spheres, an inner and an outer one. The greater the spin of the black hole is, the farther from each other the photon spheres move. A beam of light travelling in a direction opposite to the spin of the black hole will circularly orbit the hole at the outer photon sphere. A beam of light travelling in the same direction as the black hole's spin will circularly orbit at the inner photon sphere.

Overextreme Kerr solutions

The location of the event horizon is determined by the larger root of Lambda=0. When M < a, there are no (real valued) solutions to this equation, and there is no event horizon. With no event horizons to hide it from the rest of the universe, the black hole ceases to be a black hole and will instead be a naked singularity.cite book | last = Chandrasekhar | first = S. | authorlink = Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar | year = 1983 | title = The Mathematical Theory of Black Holes | series = International Series of Monographs on Physics | volume = 69 | page = 375]

Kerr black holes as wormholes

Although the Kerr solution appears to be singular at the roots of Lambda=0, these are actually coordinate singularities, and, with an appropriate choice of new coordinates, the Kerr solution can be smoothly extended through the values of r corresponding to these roots. The larger of these roots determines the location of the event horizon, and the smaller determines the location of a Cauchy horizon. A (future-directed, time-like) curve can start in the exterior and pass through the event horizon. Once having passed thrugh the event horizon, the r coordinate now behaves like a time coordinate, so it must decrease until the curve passes through the Cauchy horizon.

The region beyond the Cauchy horizon has several surprising features. The r coordinate again behaves like a spatial coordinate and can vary freely. The interior region has a reflection symmetry, so that a (future-directed time-like) curve may continue along a symmetric path, which continues through a second Cauchy horizon, through a second event horizon, and out into a new exterior region which is isometric to the original exterior region of the Kerr solution. The curve could then escape to infinity in the new region or enter the future event horizon of the new exterior region and repeat the process. This second exterior is sometimes thought of as another universe. On the other hand, in the Kerr solution, the singularity at r=0 is a ring, and the curve may pass through the center of this ring. The region beyond permits closed, time-like curves. Since the trajectory of observers and particles in general relativity are described by time-like curves, it is possible for observers in this region to return to their past.

While it is expected that the exterior region of the Kerr solution is stable, and that all rotating black holes will eventually approach a Kerr metric, the interior region of the solution appears to be unstable, much like a pencil balanced on its point (Penrose 1968).

Relation to other exact solutions

The Kerr vacuum is a particular example of a stationary axially symmetric vacuum solution to the Einstein field equation. The family of all stationary axially symmetric vacuum solutions to the Einstein field equation are the Ernst vacuums.

The Kerr solution is also related to various non-vacuum solutions which model black holes. For example, the Kerr-Newman electrovacuum models a (rotating) black hole endowed with an electric charge, while the Kerr-Vaidya null dust models a (rotating) hole with infalling electromagnetic radiation.

The special case a=0 of the Kerr metric yields the Schwarzschild metric, which models a "nonrotating" black hole which is static and spherically symmetric, in the Schwarzschild coordinates. (In this case, every Geroch moment but the mass vanishes.)

The "interior" of the Kerr vacuum, or rather a portion of it, is locally isometric to the Chandrasekhar/Ferrari CPW vacuum, an example of a colliding plane wave model. This is particularly interesting, because the global structure of this CPW solution is quite different from that of the Kerr vacuum, and in principle, an experimenter could hope to study the geometry of (the outer portion of) the Kerr interior by arranging the collision of two suitable gravitational plane waves.

Multipole moments

Each asymptotically flat Ernst vacuum can be characterized by giving the infinite sequence of relativistic multipole moments, the first two of which can be interpreted as the mass and angular momentum of the source of the field. There are alternative formulations of relativistic multipole moments due to Hansen, Thorne, and Geroch, which turn out to agree with each other. The relativistic multipole moments of the Kerr vacuum were computed by Hansen; they turn out to be: M_n = M , (i , alpha)^n Thus, the special case of the Schwarzschild vacuum (α=0) gives the "monopole point source" of general relativity.

"Warning:" do not confuse these relativistic multipole moments with the "Weyl multipole moments", which arise from treating a certain metric function (formally corresponding to Newtonian gravitational potential) which appears the Weyl-Papapetrou chart for the Ernst family of all stationary axisymmetric vacuums solutions using the standard euclidean scalar multipole moments. In a sense, the Weyl moments only (indirectly) characterize the "mass distribution" of an isolated source, and they turn out to depend only on the "even order" relativistic moments. In the case of solutions symmetric across the equatorial plane the "odd order" Weyl moments vanish. For the Kerr vacuum solutions, the first few Weyl moments are given by:a_0 = M, ; ; a_1 = 0, ; ; a_2 = M , left( frac{M^2}{3} - alpha^2 ight) In particular, we see that the Schwarzschild vacuum has nonzero second order Weyl moment, corresponding to the fact that the "Weyl monopole" is the Chazy-Curzon vacuum solution, not the Schwarzschild vacuum solution, which arises from the Newtonian potential of a certain finite length uniform density thin "rod".

In weak field general relativity, it is convenient to treat isolated sources using another type of multipole, which generalize the Weyl moments to "mass multipole moments" and "momentum multipole moments", characterizing respectively the distribution of mass and of momentum of the source. These are multi-indexed quantities whose suitably symmetrized (anti-symmetrized) parts can be related to the real and imaginary parts of the relativistic moments for the full nonlinear theory in a rather complicated manner.

Perez and Moreschi have given an alternative notion of "monopole solutions" by expanding the standard NP tetrad of the Ernst vacuums in powers of "r" (the radial coordinate in the Weyl-Papapetrou chart). According to this formulation:
*the isolated mass monopole source with "zero" angular momentum is the "Schwarzschild vacuum" family (one parameter),
*the isolated mass monopole source with "radial" angular momentum is the "Taub-NUT vacuum" family (two parameters; not quite asymptotically flat),
*the isolated mass monopole source with "axial" angular momentum is the "Kerr vacuum" family (two parameters).In this sense, the Kerr vacuums are the simplest stationary axisymmetric asymptotically flat vacuum solutions in general relativity.

Open problems

The Kerr vacuum is often used as a model of a black hole, but if we hold the solution to be valid only outside some compact region (subject to certain restrictions), in principle we should be able to use it as an exterior solution to model the gravitational field around a rotating massive object other than a black hole, such as a neutron star--- or the Earth. This works out very nicely for the non-rotating case, where we can match the Schwarzschild vacuum exterior to a Schwarzschild fluid interior, and indeed to more general static spherically symmetric perfect fluid solutions. However, the problem of finding a rotating perfect-fluid interior which can be matched to a Kerr exterior, or indeed to any asymptotically flat vacuum exterior solution, has proven very difficult. In particular, the Wahlquist fluid, which was once thought to be a candidate for matching to a Kerr exterior, is now known not to admit any such matching. At present it seems that only approximate solutions modeling slowly rotating fluid balls (the relativistic analog of oblate spheroidal balls with nonzero mass and angular momentum but vanishing higher multipole moments) are known. However, the exterior of the Neugebauer/Meinel disk, an exact dust solution which models a rotating thin disk, approaches in a limiting case the "a"="M" Kerr vacuum.

The equations of the trajectory and the time dependence for a particle in the Kerr field

In the Hamilton-Jacobi equation we write the action S in the form:

:::: S = -E_{0}t + Lphi + S_{r}(r) + S_{ heta}( heta)

where E_{0}, m, and L are the conserved energy, the rest mass and the component of the angular momentum (along the axis of symmetry of the field) of the particle consecutively, and carry out the separation of variables in the Hamilton Jacobi equation as follows:

::left(frac{dS_{ heta{d heta} ight)^{2} + left(aE_{0}sin heta - frac{L}{sin heta} ight)^{2} + a^{2}m^{2}cos^{2} heta = K::Deltaleft(frac{dS_{r{dr} ight)^{2} - frac{1}{Delta}left [left(r^{2} + a^{2} ight)E_{0} - aL ight] ^{2} + m^{2}r^{2} = -K

where K is a new arbitrary constant. The equation of the trajectory and the time dependence of the coordinates along the trajectory (motion equation) can be found then easily and directly from these equations:

::{frac{partial{S{partial{E_{0 = const::{frac{partial{S{partial{L} = const::{frac{partial{S{partial{K} = const

ee also

* Schwarzschild metric
* Kerr-Newman metric
* Reissner-Nordström metric
* Spin-flip




* "See chapter 19" for a readable introduction at the advanced undergraduate level.

* "See chapters 6--10" for a very thorough study at the advanced graduate level.

* "See chapter 13" for the Chandrasekhar/Ferrari CPW model.

* "See chapter 7".


*cite arXiv |author=Perez, Alejandro; and Moreschi, Osvaldo M. |title=Characterizing exact solutions from asymptotic physical concepts | year=2000| eprint=gr-qc/0012100 | version=27 Dec 2000 Characterization of three standard families of vacuum solutions as noted above.

*cite journal |author=Sotiriou, Thomas P.; and Apostolatos, Theocharis A. |title = Corrections and Comments on the Multipole Moments of Axisymmetric Electrovacuum Spacetimes |journal=Class. Quant. Grav. |volume= 21 |year=2004 |pages= 5727–5733 |doi = 10.1088/0264-9381/21/24/003 [ arXiv eprint] Gives the relativistic multipole moments for the Ernst vacuums (plus the electromagnetic and gravitational relativistic multipole moments for the charged generalization).



Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Kerr — may refer to:Places*Kerr, Montana, A US census designated place *Kerr County, Texas, USAOther uses*Alief Kerr High School, a public magnet school in Houston, Texas, USA *Dick, Kerr Co., locomotive manufacturer based in Scotland and England **… …   Wikipedia

  • Kerr-Newman metric — The Kerr Newman metric is a solution of Einstein s general relativity field equation that describes the spacetime geometry in the region surrounding a charged, rotating mass. Like the Kerr metric, the interior solution exists mathematically and… …   Wikipedia

  • Metric tensor (general relativity) — This article is about metrics in general relativity. For a discussion of metrics in general, see metric tensor. Metric tensor of spacetime in general relativity written as a matrix. In general relativity, the metric tensor (or simply, the metric) …   Wikipedia

  • Kerr (surname) — For people with the given name, see Kerr (given name). For other uses, see Kerr. Kerr is a surname, traditionally pronounced either cur , care or carr . In Scotland, it is pronounced kehr with a trilled r and the vowel sounded as long eh as in… …   Wikipedia

  • Kerr-Metrik — Die Kerr Metrik [1] ist eine Vakuumlösung der einsteinschen Feldgleichungen für ungeladene, rotierende schwarze Löcher. Diese Lösung wird nach Roy Patrick Kerr benannt, der sie als erster berechnete. Das Linienelement lässt sich in Boyer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kerr, Roy P — ▪ New Zealander mathematician born May 16, 1934, Kurow, N.Z.       New Zealander mathematician who solved (1963) Einstein s field equations of general relativity to describe rotating black holes (black hole), thus providing a major contribution… …   Universalium

  • Schwarzschild metric — In Einstein s theory of general relativity, the Schwarzschild solution (or the Schwarzschild vacuum) describes the gravitational field outside a spherical, non rotating mass such as a (non rotating) star, planet, or black hole. It is also a good… …   Wikipedia

  • Métrique de Kerr — Trou noir de Kerr Pour les articles homonymes, voir Trou noir (homonymie). Article principal : trou noir. En astrophysique, un trou noir de Kerr désigne un trou noir en rotation et de charge électrique nulle. Il est décrit dans le cadre de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Trou noir de Kerr — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Trou noir (homonymie). Article principal : Trou noir. En astrophysique, un trou noir de Kerr désigne un trou noir en rotation et de charge électrique nulle. Il est décrit dans le cadre de la relativité… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Trou noir de kerr — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Trou noir (homonymie). Article principal : trou noir. En astrophysique, un trou noir de Kerr désigne un trou noir en rotation et de charge électrique nulle. Il est décrit dans le cadre de la relativité… …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”