The following is a natural choice of orthonormal tetrad for an observer moving radially in Schwarzschild spacetime with “energy per unit rest mass” e:
The components are given in Schwarzschild coordinates. (The ± signs are not independent — they must be either both +1 or both -1. Note that e does not distinguish between inward and outward motion. There is additional freedom to define any of these vectors as their negative.)
We normally think of e as invariant, where there is a presumption of freely falling / geodesic motion, but even if not we can regard it as an instantaneous value.
is the 4-velocity computed previously. The other vectors can be obtained from substituting and into the tetrad here. is determined from and the equation for e above, then V follows from inverting . This orthonormal frame is useful for determining the object’s perspective, e.g. tidal forces, visual appearances, etc.
Suppose an observer u moves radially with speed (3-velocity) relative to “stationary” Schwarzschild observers, where we define as inward motion. Then one natural choice of orthonormal tetrad is:
where the components are given in Schwarzschild coordinates. This may be derived as follows.
The Schwarzschild observer has 4-velocity
because the spatial coordinates are fixed, and the t-component follows from normalisation (Hartle §9.2).
We obtain by orthonormality: and , and again making the assumption the θ and φ components are zero. Note the negative of the r-component is probably an equally natural choice. Then and follow from simply normalising the coordinate vectors.
Strictly speaking this setup only applies for , because stationary timelike observers cannot exist inside a black hole event horizon! Yet remarkably the formulae can work out anyway (MTW …) . An alternate approach is local Lorentz boost described shortly.
Hartle … Also check no “twisting” etc…