Conformal Killing vectors in Robertson-Walker spacetimes

R. Maartens*, S. D. Maharaj

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is well known that Robertson-Walker spacetimes admit a conformal Killing vector normal to the spacelike homogeneous hypersurfaces. Because these spacetimes are conformally flat, there are a further eight conformal Killing vectors, which are neither normal nor tangent to the homogeneous hypersurfaces. The authors find these further conformal Killing vectors and the Lie algebra of the full G15 of conformal motions. Conditions on the metric scale factor are determined which reduce some of the conformal Killing vectors to homothetic Killing vectors or Killing vectors, allowing the authors to regain in a unified way the known special geometries. The non-normal conformal Killing vectors provide a counter-example to show that conformal motions do not, in general, map a fluid flow conformally. They also use these non-normal vectors to find the general solution of the null geodesic equation and photon Liouville equation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number027
Pages (from-to)1005-1011
Number of pages7
JournalClassical and Quantum Gravity
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1986


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