Reissner–Nordström metric

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In physics and astronomy, the Reissner–Nordström metric is a static solution to the Einstein-Maxwell field equations, which corresponds to the gravitational field of a charged, non-rotating, spherically symmetric body of mass M.

The metric was discovered by Hans Reissner and Gunnar Nordström.

These four related solutions may be summarized by the following table:

Non-rotating (J = 0) Rotating (J ≠ 0)
Uncharged (Q = 0) Schwarzschild Kerr
Charged (Q ≠ 0) Reissner–Nordström Kerr–Newman

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

The metric[edit]

In spherical coordinates (t, r, θ, φ), the line element for the Reissner–Nordström metric is

where c is the speed of light, t is the time coordinate (measured by a stationary clock at infinity), r is the radial coordinate, is a 2-sphere defined by

rS is the Schwarzschild radius of the body given by

and rQ is a characteristic length scale given by

Here 1/4πε0 is Coulomb force constant.[1]

In the limit that the charge Q (or equivalently, the length-scale rQ) goes to zero, one recovers the Schwarzschild metric. The classical Newtonian theory of gravity may then be recovered in the limit as the ratio rS/r goes to zero. In that limit that both rQ/r and rS/r go to zero, the metric becomes the Minkowski metric for special relativity.

In practice, the ratio rS/r is often extremely small. For example, the Schwarzschild radius of the Earth is roughly 9 mm (3/8 inch), whereas a satellite in a geosynchronous orbit has a radius r that is roughly four billion times larger, at 42,164 km (26,200 miles). Even at the surface of the Earth, the corrections to Newtonian gravity are only one part in a billion. The ratio only becomes large close to black holes and other ultra-dense objects such as neutron stars.

Charged black holes[edit]

Although charged black holes with rQ ≪ rS are similar to the Schwarzschild black hole, they have two horizons: the event horizon and an internal Cauchy horizon.[2] As with the Schwarzschild metric, the event horizons for the spacetime are located where the metric component grr diverges; that is, where

This equation has two solutions:

These concentric event horizons become degenerate for 2rQ = rS, which corresponds to an extremal black hole. Black holes with 2rQ > rS are believed not to exist in nature because they would contain a naked singularity; their appearance would contradict Roger Penrose's cosmic censorship hypothesis which is generally believed to be true.[citation needed] Theories with supersymmetry usually guarantee that such "superextremal" black holes cannot exist.

The electromagnetic potential is

If magnetic monopoles are included in the theory, then a generalization to include magnetic charge P is obtained by replacing Q2 by Q2 + P2 in the metric and including the term Pcos θ dφ in the electromagnetic potential.[clarification needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Landau 1975.
  2. ^ Chandrasekhar, S. (1998). The Mathematical Theory of Black Holes (Reprinted ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 205. ISBN 0-19850370-9. Retrieved 13 May 2013. And finally, the fact that the Reissner-Nordström solution has two horizons, an external event horizon and an internal 'Cauchy horizon,' provides a convenient bridge to the study of the Kerr solution in the subsequent chapters. 


  • Reissner, H. (1916). "Über die Eigengravitation des elektrischen Feldes nach der Einsteinschen Theorie". Annalen der Physik (in German). 50: 106–120. Bibcode:1916AnP...355..106R. doi:10.1002/andp.19163550905. 
  • Nordström, G. (1918). "On the Energy of the Gravitational Field in Einstein's Theory". Verhandl. Koninkl. Ned. Akad. Wetenschap., Afdel. Natuurk., Amsterdam. 26: 1201–1208. 
  • Adler, R.; Bazin, M.; Schiffer, M. (1965). Introduction to General Relativity. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company. pp. 395–401. ISBN 978-0-07-000420-7. 
  • Wald, Robert M. (1984). General Relativity. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. pp. 158, 312–324. ISBN 978-0-226-87032-8. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 

External links[edit]