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Keywords:

  • ultrarelativistic particles;
  • tidal acceleration;
  • tidal deceleration;
  • general relativity

Abstract

We point out novel consequences of general relativity involving tidal dynamics of ultrarelativistic relative motion. Specifically, we use the generalized Jacobi equation and its extension to study the force-free dynamics of relativistic flows near a massive rotating source. We show that along the rotation axis of the gravitational source, relativistic tidal effects strongly decelerate an initially ultrarelativistic flow with respect to the ambient medium, contrary to Newtonian expectations. Moreover, an initially ultrarelativistic flow perpendicular to the axis of rotation is strongly accelerated by the relativistic tidal forces. The astrophysical implications of these results for jets and ultrahigh energy cosmic rays are briefly mentioned.