World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Local reference frame

Article Id: WHEBN0002434383
Reproduction Date:

Title: Local reference frame  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Frames of reference, Local coordinates, Redshift, General relativity, Inertial frame of reference
Collection: Frames of Reference
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Local reference frame

In theoretical physics, a local reference frame (local frame) refers to a coordinate system or frame of reference that is only expected to function over a small region or a restricted region of space or spacetime.

The term is most often used in the context of the application of local inertial frames to small regions of a gravitational field. Although gravitational tidal forces will cause the background geometry to become noticeably non-Euclidean over larger regions, if we restrict ourselves to a sufficiently small region containing a cluster of objects falling together in an effectively uniform gravitational field, their physics can be described as the physics of that cluster in a space free from explicit background gravitational effects.

Einstein and general relativity

When constructing his general theory of relativity, Einstein made the following observation: a freely falling object in a gravitational field will not be able to detect the existence of the field by making local measurements ("a falling man feels no gravity"). Einstein was then able to complete his general theory by arguing that the physics of curved spacetime must reduce over small regions to the physics of simple inertial mechanics (in this case special relativity) for small freefalling regions.

Einstein referred to this as "the happiest idea of my life".

See also

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.