This paper gives a theoretical discussion of the orbits and isotropies which arise in a spacetime which admits a Lie algebra of Killing vector fields. The submanifold structure of the orbits is explored together with their induced Killing vector structure. A general decomposition of a spacetime in terms of the nature and dimension of its orbits is given and the concept of stability and instability for orbits introduced. A general relation is shown linking the dimensions of the Killing algebra, the orbits and the isotropies. The well-behaved nature of 'stable' orbits and the possible misbehaviour of the 'unstable' ones is pointed out and, in particular, the fact that independent Killing vector fields in spacetime may not induce independent Killing vector fields on unstable orbits. Several examples are presented to exhibit these features. Finally, an appendix is given which revisits and attempts to clarify the well-known theorem of Fubini on the dimension of Killing orbits.
- VECTOR FIELDS