Newtonian limit of conformal gravity and the lack of necessity of the second order Poisson equation
Abstract
We study the interior structure of a locally conformal invariant fourth order theory of gravity in the presence of a static, spherically symmetric gravitational source. We find, quite remarkably, that the associated dynamics is determined exactly and without any approximation at all by a simple fourth order Poisson equation which thus describes both the strong and weak field limits of the theory in this static case. We present the solutions to this fourth order equation and find that we are able to recover all of the standard NewtonEuler gravitational phenomenology in the weak gravity limit, to thus establish the observational viability of the weak field limit of the fourth order theory. Additionally, we make a critical analysis of the second order Poisson equation, and find that the currently available experimental evidence for its validity is not as clearcut and definitive as is commonly believed, with there not apparently being any conclusive observational support for it at all either on the very largest distance scales far outside of fundamental sources, or on the very smallest ones within their interiors. Our study enables us to deduce that even though the familiar second order Poisson gravitational equation may be sufficient to yield Newton's Law of Gravity it is not in fact necessary.
 Publication:

General Relativity and Gravitation
 Pub Date:
 April 1994
 DOI:
 10.1007/BF02105226
 Bibcode:
 1994GReGr..26..337M