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Institut für Visualisierung und Interaktive Systeme

Thomas Müller


GeodesicViewer - A tool for exploring geodesics in the theory of relativity

Thomas Müller, Frank Grave

The GeodesicViewer realizes exocentric two- and three-dimensional illustrations of lightlike and timelike geodesics in the general theory of relativity. By means of an intuitive graphical user interface, all parameters of a spacetime as well as the initial conditions of the geodesics can be modified interactively. This makes the GeodesicViewer a useful instrument for the exploration of geodesics in four-dimensional Lorentzian spacetimes.

   The GeodesicViewer     
The most recent version of the GeodesicViewer can be downloaded here:

Linux source files gzip-compressed tar-file (3.0MB) md5: d051902f42f4be3b3472ef75329b0f28
Windows source files zip-archive (3.3MB) md5: fea3fe50f8738ffbb1d018929206d682
Windows binaries zip-archive (17MB) md5: 21d77f1d0ea99b379ea60509d37bf8f9
Version date: 25. Mar 2011

A brief documentation, some tutorials, and an installation instruction can be found here.

Note that the Windows binaries were tested only on 64bit 'Windows 7/XP' machines.

There is also an educational article about how the GeodesicViewer could be used in the classroom: click here.
  • T. Müller, J. Frauendiener
    Studying null and time-like geodesics in the classroom
    European Journal of Physics 32, 747-759 (2011)
    DOI: 10.1088/0143-0807/32/3/011
  • T. Müller, F. Grave
    GeodesicViewer - A tool for exploring geodesics in the theory of relativity
    Computer Physics Communications 181, 413-419 (2010)
    DOI: 10.1016/j.cpc.2009.10.010
    Catalogue Identifier for the source code: AEFP_v1_0.
  • The orbits in J. Levin and G. Perez-Giz, "A Periodic Table for Black Hole Orbits," Phys. Rev. D, 77, 103005, 2008
    DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.77.103005
    can be reproduced by the GeodesicViewer. Please use the maxima-notebook for the parameter transformation and the GV-settings file.
    A MathematicaDemonstration by D. Saroff, G. Clifton, and J. Levin can be found here.
Visualisierungsinstitut der Universität Stuttgart (VISUS)
Allmandring 19
70569 Stuttgart, Germany

1. Institut für Theoretische Physik, Universität Stuttgart
Pfaffenwaldring 57 // IV
70550 Stuttgart, Germany