General Relativity and Gravitation

, Volume 44, Issue 5, pp 1267–1283

On the twin paradox in static spacetimes: I. Schwarzschild metric


    • Astronomical ObservatoryJagiellonian University
    • Copernicus Center for Interdisciplinary Studies

DOI: 10.1007/s10714-012-1337-4


Motivated by a conjecture put forward by Abramowicz and Bajtlik we reconsider the twin paradox in static spacetimes. According to a well known theorem in Lorentzian geometry the longest timelike worldline between two given points is the unique geodesic line without points conjugate to the initial point on the segment joining the two points. We calculate the proper times for static twins, for twins moving on a circular orbit (if it is a geodesic) around a centre of symmetry and for twins travelling on outgoing and ingoing radial timelike geodesics. We show that the twins on the radial geodesic worldlines are always the oldest ones and we explicitly find the the conjugate points (if they exist) outside the relevant segments. As it is of its own mathematical interest, we find general Jacobi vector fields on the geodesic lines under consideration. In the first part of the work we investigate Schwarzschild geometry.


Twin paradox Static spacetimes Jacobi fields Conjugate points


I am deeply indebted to Zdzisław Golda for solving a differential equation with the aid of Mathematica and to Sebastian Szybka for making some analytic and numerical computations. This work was supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

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© The Author(s) 2012