Relativity visualized

Concluding remarks

These computer simulations do not take account of the gravitational frequency shift. Radiation that reaches an observer near a black hole in the visible frequency range has been emitted by the distant stars in the infrared. An observer that is positioned less than 45 kilometres above the horizon would for this reason see the infrared looks of the Milky Way: Gas and dust clouds are nearly transparent and a dense conglomeration of stars is seen in the plane of the Milky Way.

For the the freely falling observer a different and anisotropic frequency shift occurs because of the Doppler effect. Near the black hole, the light that the observer receives in the visible range and from the front was emitted in the infrared. From the back, however, he receives redshifted ultraviolet radiation.

More computer simulations on the theory of relativity are available in the internet on

Space Time Travel

Acknowledgements: Frank Grave has provided Fig.  7 of the free fall into the black hole. The background image of the computer simulation is Axel Mellinger's All-Sky Milky Way Panoramaexternal link. Thanks to Corvin Zahn, Hanns Ruder and Frank Grave for helpful discussions. This work was made possible by the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, Golm, and was partially supported by the DFG (SFB 382).

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Authors: Ute Kraus, Date: November 11, 2005
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