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More than 350 keywords from relativity and related topics, from "absolute zero" to "X-rays" - please use the menu on the left to choose a letter.


A specific binary system consisting of two orbiting neutron stars, one of which is a pulsar from which we here on Earth receive regularly spaced radio pulses. From the point of view of general relativity, the system is interesting not only because, using the pulses, one can measure effects such as Shapiro delay with impressive precision, but because it has given us the first indirect proof for the existence of gravitational waves: the orbital period of the two stars becomes slightly shorter with each orbit, exactly in the way predicted by general relativity due to the energy the system radiates away in the form of gravitational waves.


Rotating neutron star from which regular pulses of radiation reach the Earth. Behind those pulses is the fact that the pulsar sends out narrowly focussed beams of radiation that, due to the pulsar's rotation, sweep through space like the beam of a light-house. An animation illustrating this effect can be found on the page Neutron stars and pulsars in the chapter Black holes & Co. of Elementary Einstein.

 Pythagoras' theorem

For a triangle in the plane (or in a more general flat space), two of whose sides form an angle of 90 degrees, the following holds: The lengths a and b of the two sides that form the 90 degrees angle and the length c of the third side are related by the formula


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