, Volume 39, Issue 6, pp 737-755
Date: 14 Mar 2007

A statistical mechanical problem in Schwarzschild spacetime

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Abstract

We use Fermi coordinates to calculate the canonical partition function for an ideal gas in a circular geodesic orbit in Schwarzschild spacetime. To test the validity of the results we prove theorems for limiting cases. We recover the Newtonian gas law subject only to tidal forces in the Newtonian limit. Additionally we recover the special relativistic gas law as the radius of the orbit increases to infinity. We also discuss how the method can be extended to the non ideal gas case.