Foundations of Physics

, Volume 26, Issue 12, pp 1683-1709

First online:

Local and global gravity

  • Philip D. MannheimAffiliated withDepartment of Physics, University of Connecticut

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Our long experience with Newtonian potentials has inured us to the view that gravity only produces local effects. In this paper we challenge this quite deeply ingrained notion and explicitly identify some intrinsically global gravitational effects. In particular we show that the global cosmological Hubble flow can actually modify the motions of stars and gas within individual galaxies, and even do so in a way which can apparently eliminate the need for galactic dark matter. Also we show that a classical light wave acquires an observable, global, pathdependent phase in traversing a gravitational field. Both of these effects serve to underscore the intrinsic difference between nonrelativistic and relativistic gravity.