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Penrose Diagrams

George Weatherill February 3, 2007

Rationale for Penrose Diagrams

Part of relativity involves considering global systems and structures. General relativity is a theory based upon manifolds and in a similar manner to gauge groups, where local structure does not always carry over to global structure, considering just a small patch of a possibly innite space-time can often be misleading about overall behaviour. Often in relativity considering the evolution of quantities from the distance past through to the distant future is important or provides for the simplest denitions (much like the S matrix in Quantum Field Theory) and so global structure may play an important role in considering long living entities, such as black holes, as well as the universe itself. At the same time, while a picture might not convey all the implications of a mathematical description, simply looking at an equation may not be the easiest way to convey information about geometric entities. Space-time diagrams have long been used to illustrate the behaviour of things such as light cones or geodesics around gravitational bodies, since often the most important properties of a system will relate to causal structure, dened by light cones. As well as a typical space-time diagram only being a local representation (or at best, a very large but nite representation), such diagrams are coordinate dependent, that is they can vary wildly in their representation of the behaviour of gravitational curvature depending on the mapping from a manifold to Rn . Consider the metric representing the Schwarzchild black hole in usual spherical coordinates (signature + ++) gab dxa dxb = ds2 = 1 2M r dt2 + 1 2M r

dr2 + r2 d2 2


At r = 2M this metric becomes singular and breaks down as a description of the space-time. However, it is possible to dierentiate between a coordinate singularity, where our choice of coordinates is not valid but the space-time is, and a physical singularity where there exists no coordinate system which allows for a meaningful description and coordinate independent scalar quantities like Rabcd Rabcd and 2 R (the Ricci Scalar) may be singular. In the case of the Schwarzchild metric Rabcd Rabcd = 48M and r6 R = 0 so r = 2M in equation (1) represents nothing more than a bad choice of coordinates on our part. This is further illustrated if we attempted to draw a space-time diagram involving light cones using this coordinate system, a problem occurs at r = 2M . The light cones close, all the time-like curves compress into a line! This can be seen by considering dr as r 2M+ . So on a space-time diagram dt with axes t and r we have a meaningless representation at the event horizon. However, since we know its not a physical singularity and just an artifact of our preference for spherical polars, it should be a surmountable problem. Though a suitable change of variables, a line element where all the entries of gab are nite exists. Just such a choice is the Eddington-Finklestein retarded time coordinates u = t r 2M ln |r 2M | as a replacement for t. dt = du + dr 1 + 2M r 2M = du + dr r r 2m (2)


= du2 1

2M r

2dudr + r2 d2 2


At r = 2M all metric coecents are nite and we have a method of considering, smoothly, the motion of objects above, on and below the event horizon. Setting (, , u) = constant we have a null space-time interval, ds2 = 0, for all r. Thus such a choice represents a lights path in a radial direction. Unlike in spherical polar coordinates, we are able to draw a space-time diagram for this choice of coordinates to represent the behaviour of light cones.

Figure 1: Light-cone shapes around r = 2M in (u, r, , ) coordinates

These coordinates are not physically viable for a gravitational system within relativity because they exhibit anti-gravity, as can be seen in Figure (1). The light cones tip over in such a manner that any time-like curve within the region 0 < r < 2M is inevitably forced out of the event horizon. Instead, these allow use to consider past horizons with a space-time completely described by a Schwarzchild metric. Since the Schwarzchild metric is stationary (invariant under t t) there also exists advanced Eddington-Finklestein coordinates, v giving the more familiar description, v ds2 = t + r + 2M ln |r 2M | 2M dv 2 + 2dvdr + r2 d2 = 1 2 r (4) (5)

These give a similar, but slightly dierent space-time diagram around the event horizon.

Figure 2: Light-cone shapes around r = 2m in (v, r, , ) coordinates

With r = 0 on the left hand side of Figure (2) and the vertical line representing the event horizon, it 2

can be seen that the light cones are again tipped over, but in this system so that any time-like curve is constrained to remain in the region r < 2M once it has entered it. While these diagrams are helpful in our consideration of the local space-time around an event horizon, there is still the question of global structure as well as the fact Figures (1) and (2) both show that the light cones still close up somewhere, within the event horizon. To counter this, some kind of conformal representation of the light cones is needed, so that the light cones remain open (preferably at 45 degrees everywhere) throughout considerations. These two requirements lead through to Penrose Diagrams.

Unphysical Space-time
If we are willing to put aside our requirement for specic details of the space-time but rather just wanting an overview of the global structure which remains conformally valid, descriptions are possible through the use of unphysical metrics, d2 , related to our physical metric by s d2 = 2 (x)ds2 s (6)

(x) is our conformal factor, not to be confused with the S 2 line element d2 from Equations (1), (3) and (5). Causal structure is preserved since d2 = 0 ds2 = 0 in all but a few cases (simple to deal s with) and angles are preserved since cos2 = (ab V a W b )2 g (gab V a W b )2 a V b )(g W c W d ) a V b )( W c W d ) (gab V (ab V g gcd cd (7)

Since the orders of the metric is equal in the numerator and denominator, the factors of have cancelled. The purpose of this factor is to absorb the innities. One metric might be singular while the other might not, depending on . We now have more freedom in our choice of coordinates for a system so that our variables r and t (or whatever our choice of coordinates may be) no longer have an innite domain but a nite one. With only a nite domain, a pictorial representation of the entirity of the space-time may be possible.

Minkowski space-time and the Einstein Static Universe

ds2 = dt2 + dr2 + r2 d2 2 (8)

Since we are in spherical coordinates, we have the domains < t < and 0 r < , as well as the usual (already nite) S 2 metric for a sphere of radius r. Choosing null coordinates u = t r and v = t + r gives us ds2 = dudv + (u v)2 2 d2 4 (9)

The domain is now < u v < . An educated guess at the choice of new variables would be a function (or functions) which goes singular at a nite value of its argument. In this case u = tan p and v = tan q give us ds2 = sec2 p sec2 q dpdq + = 1 sec2 sec2 p sin2 (q p)d2 2 4 1 sec2 p sec2 q dpdq + sin2 (p q)d2 2 4


The domain for the variables is now < p q < , a nite interval. Given our extra freedom in 2 2 conformal factors, the sec2 p sec2 q factor can be dropped, along with a factor of 4 for later convenience. 3

However, the interval can be cleared up slightly more to take it into a more familiar form. Let T = q +p and R = q p and the interval becomes d2 = dT 2 + dR2 + sin2 (R)d2 s 2 (11)

with < T < and 0 R < and the S 2 coordinates as usual. This metric is known as the Friedmann-Robertson-Walker metric (with K = 1) and forms part of the Einstein Static Universe. To consider what this means, notice that the spacial part of the metric, dR2 + sin2 Rd2 , is the standard 2 line element for a special region of three dimensions and with constant curvature +1, S 3 . Unfortunately, drawing such a thing is less than easy and so supressing two of the dimensions (the S 2 components) is convenient. This leaves dT 2 + dR2 , which is considerably easier to draw. The procedure to do this can either be done on a at sheet, making it easy to work out the layout of the null innities rst or on a cylinders surface, making the drawing of all geodesics more straight forward. The at sheet method is more intuitive, so will be demonstrated. We have < T < and 0 R < , which are functions of the original t and r. There were 3 extremal points in the original Minkowski space-time. t = , t = and r = . The fourth is excluded by polar coordinate denitions. These three points translate into the points in (R, T ) space as (0, ), (0, ) and (, 0). They are then joined by null innities and give us the general layout of Figure 3a.

Figure 3: Partial Penrose diagrams for M4 This now leaves us with the issue of nding the representation of the geodesics of the original M4 in this representation. The easier to deduce is space-like geodesics and then from those the time-like will be the orthogonal curves. Space-like geodesics in at space-time at t = constant and all extend to spacial innity. Therefore, all space-like geodesics must converge to the spacial innity, (R, T ) = (, 0). The simplest geodesic to now nd is that one which t = 0 has mapped into. By considering the change of variables used, this results in T = 0. Therefore, the horizontal line in Figure 3a is a space-like geodesic. By noting that past time-like innity (R, T ) = (0, ) is equivalent to t = constant with the constant equal to (a dubious notion but bear with me) and that future time-like innity (R, T ) = (0, ) is equivalent to t = constant with the constant equal to +, it can be seen that the t = 0 geodesic is an intermediate stage of a constant variation from t = to t = +. Therefore, the space-like geodesics are those curves which are orthogonal to the T axis and which converge to (R, T ) = (, 0), as shown in Figure 3b, though there are innitely many such curves. The time-like geodesics are now found with ease. They must start at past time-like innity and converge back to future time-like innity. Given the symmetry of the diagram, they are reections of 4

the space-like geodesics in the R = T line, just as you would expect for a normal space-time diagram of M4 , found by some r = constant value. This gives use the Minkowski Penrose diagram, with light paths shown in red,

Figure 4: Penrose diagram for M4

The slight asymmetry in the length of the space-like geodesics compared to the time-like ones suggests Figure 7 is only half the story. This is true because originally r 0 was the domain for the radius. Taking this into account gives the full Einstein Static Universe, which extends fully in all directions for eternity.

Figure 5: Penrose diagram for Einstein Static Universe

de Sitter space-time
The line element for de Sitter space-time is ds2 = R2 dt2 + R2 cosh2 t(d2 + sin2 d2 ) 2 (12)

The domains of the variables are < t < , 0 and the usual S 2 angles. Through the less than obvious transformation of sec T = cosh t (or equivalently T = 2 tan1 (et ) ) this is turned into 2 ds2 = R2 cosh2 t(dT 2 + d2 + sin2 d2 ) 2 (13)

Dropping the conformal factor of R2 cosh2 t gives Equation (11) under R . Therefore the ESU is conformally related to de Sitter space-time. Despite the much more complicated change of variables to get this metric form, it has the advantage that T = T (t), not T = T (t, r) as in the previous section. This gives that the future time-like innity (t ) and the past time-like innity (t ) are at T = and T = . In both cases the value of is irrelevent, hence the future and past time-like 2 2 5

innity are not points as before, but lines. Therefore the Penrose diagram for de Sitter space-time is not a triangle or sideways square but a square with sides orientated with the axes, as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6: Penrose diagram for de Sitter space-time

Black Hole Diagrams

With these two basic Penrose diagrams for two phenomenological space-times, the diagrams for classic black hole metrics can be worked out by patching together known conformal properties of the metric with limiting cases of other space-times.

Schwarzchild black holes

In Equation (1) the Schwarzchild metric is asymptotically Minkowski for r . This immediately tells us that for regions where r >> 2M the Schwarzchild and Minkowski diagrams should eectively be the same. Another clue to its layout can be gleaned from Figures 1 and 2 along with the fact Penrose diagrams do not change the angle light rays move at (though Figures 1 and 2 certainly do). Since light rays behave normally out in the asymptotically at region of the space-time, they must do the same near, on and in the event horizon. However, Figures 1 and 2 tell us that on the r = 2M surface/line (depending on dimensional supression) the light rays move along the line of constant r. Therefore, in the Schwarzchild Penrose diagram, the line r = 2M , which represents the event horizon, is null! Figure 3 shows us that in Minkowski space-time, two possible null lines represent space-time null innities. Since this within the area that the Schwarzchild and Minkowski diagrams coincide, those two null lines could not possibly be the r = 2m line in the Schwarzcild diagram. This leaves two other possibilities. By considering the same smooth variation of the geodesics as was done for the Minkowski case, it can be seen that part of the Schwarzchild diagram is (at least supercially) the same as the Einstein Static Universe, in Figure 5, except that the two left hand diagonals no longer represent null innities, but the surface r = 2M . But what of 0 < r < 2M ? We now can revert back to using the original Schwarzchild metric in Equation (1), since its value in the range 0 < r < 2M , but the signature has changed from + ++ to + ++. The radial direction is now time-like and the time direction is now space-like. This can

be seen to be expected if wed continued varying our time-like geodesics through the event horizon, though wed not know where they end up. This changing of signature is the reason you cannot avoid the singularity. To move in a time-like fashion, as all objects with positive mass must, you must have motion along the radial line and youre only choice of direction is towards the singularity. But there is a limit to how far you can vary our time-like geodesics, what of the r = 0 case? Just as t = 0 gives us the horizontal geodesic line for Minkowski space-time, r = 0 gives the same situation inside the event horizon due to the signature change. Therefore r = 0 is a horizontal line, which cannot be crossed because it is a physical singularity. This gives us the partly completed Penrose diagram shown below.

Figure 7: Partial Penrose diagram for a Schwarzchild black hole

To tie up the loose geodesics can be done by realising that a photon which is related exactly on r = 2M surface will remain there for eternity. This means that we can extend the r = 2M line till it hits the singularity, where the meeting place will be a future time-like innity, just as the other one. The timelike geodesics within the event horizon must all start or nish there as well. This has now completely determined the shape of the black hole region. By noting the t t symmetry, this completion can be extended to the white hole region. Through the use of Kruskal coordinates (omitted) the left hand side of the diagram is completed with a second, asymptotically at space-time, giving the nal diagram as Figure 8.

Figure 8: Complete Penrose diagram for a Schwarzchild black hole Red lines for time-like, blue for space-like. An addition point of interest would be the central point where all four regions meet. Taking a surface of constant t (since too fast a time-like motion will result in you ending up in the black hole) gives the metric of the right hand region as ds2 = 1 2M r

dr2 + r2 d2 2 7


Setting one of the polar coordinates, , to a constant , leaves a metric form which admits the following 2 change of variables r = = 2M cosh2 2M + M sinh 2 (15) (16)

The value of depends on the region you are in, with = 0 if r = 2M , > 0 in the right hand region and < 0 in the left hand region. The metric now becomes ds2 = d2 + 4M 2 cosh2 d2 (17)

This is a throat, a cylinder with a varying radius, minimised at = 0, signifying the wormhole between the two asymptotically at space-times.

Figure 9: Wormhole between universes

Reissner-Nordstrom black holes

The Schwarzchild metric is the simplest black hole solution to the Einstein Field Equations (its also unique by Birkhos Theorem). The next simplest is a charged but non-spinning black hole, found by Reissner and Nordstrom and with the metric ds2 = 1 2M Q2 + 2 r r dt2 + 1 2M Q2 + 2 r r

dr2 + r2 d2 2


Q is the charge of the black hole and it can be seen that the metric asymptotes to Schwarzchild and then Minkowski so similarities between those metrics Penrose diagrams and a R-N diagram is expected. One dierence between the R-N and Schwarzchild solutions is that the R-N solution has 3 distinct cases, depending on the value of Q. Since the event horizon in polar coordinates is when grr , it is dened to computed to be at r=M M 2 Q2 (19)

This goes to r = 2M if Q = 0, but its assumed not to be. If M > |Q|, there are two solutions, so two event horizons. If M = |Q|, the black hole is extremal and if M < |Q| were left with a naked singularity, there is no event horizon to shroud it. This is excluded by the cosmic censorship hypothesis and is thought to be physically unviable due to the self limiting of charge in a black hole. For simplicity of dicussion and drawing, the rst case only is considered and the Penrose diagram 8

just stated, not derived. Though a change of coordinates similar to the retarded and advanced coordinates of before, followed by a Kruskal-like change of coordinates, the metric can be turned into ds

r+ = M

2 2M r 2

|r r |

2 2 r+ r r2 +

dU dV r2

+ r2 d2 2


This gives, after considerable work, the Penrose diagram below.

Figure 10: Complete Penrose diagram for a Reissner-Nordstrom black hole

Unlike the Schwarzchild metric, which leads to a nite Penrose diagram, the Reissner-Nordstrom metric leads to a tower of asymptotically at universes, each connected via wormholes, black holes and white holes. Not only that, but falling into a black hole doesnt mean youre doomed to be crushed, the singularity is a time-like line, not the impassable space-like one of Schwarzchild. There exist alwaystime-like curves which pass through the horizon, move close to the singularity and then away from it. The price for surviving a trip through a black hole is that the asymptotically at universe you emerge in may not have been the one you left. Theres some possbility that the space-times form a closed loop, with certain edges of the Penrose diagram being identied, as in Figure 10, but the physical validity of such things is questionable.

Figure 11: Geodesic identication in a Reissner-Nordstrom diagram