, Volume 106, Issue 4, pp 351-373

Classical electromagnetic radiation in noninertial reference frames

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Customarily electromagnetic radiation is defined with reference to some inertial laboratory frame. But such a definition is too narrow to be applicable to questions concerning accelerated observers,e.g. why an accelerated observer does not receive radiation from a co-accelerating charge. It is shown in this paper that a radiation concept introduced for inertial observers by Rohrlich and Teitelboim allows an extension to noninertial (accelerating and rotating) reference frames in a natural way. The generalized concept is explicitly dependent on the proper acceleration and the rotation of the observer’s laboratory frame. The case of radiation due to an accelerated point charge is treated in full detail. Roughly speaking, radiation from a point charge is observed, when therelative acceleration (in a well-defined sense) between charge and observer is nonvanishing. The analysis of this paper requires a detailed study of the general properties of noninertial laboratory frames. The necessary mathematical framework has been developed in an earlier paper (I), using ideas introduced by DeFacio, Dennis, and Retzloff.