The river of spacetime

Galileo's Pendulum

I originally intended this post to be “Portrait of a black hole, part 2”, but thanks to some issues I’m having with my simulation code (and the lack of time to debug them right now), I’ll hold off on that for a few more days. Instead, I thought it might be useful to elaborate on the earlier concept I introduced: the “current” analogy of spacetime. As with all metaphors, the current analogy isn’t perfect, but the more I have taught and studied and written about gravity, the more I think it’s a more valuable view than the static “rubber sheet” metaphor that we often resort to.

Let’s start with something simple: a river, flowing steadily from west to east. (I live in Virginia in the United States, so that’s a fairly typical direction for river flow.) If you are on the river’s bank, you’ll observe the flow of the…

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