Journal of Mathematical Physics, Volume 61, Issue 12, December 2020. Zero rest-mass fields of spin 1 (the electromagnetic field) and spin 2 propagating on flat space and their corresponding Newman–Penrose (NP) constants are studied near spatial infinity. The aim of this analysis is to clarify the correspondence between data for these fields on a spacelike hypersurface and the value of their corresponding NP constants at future and past null infinity. To do so, Friedrich’s framework of the cylinder at spatial infinity is employed to show that, expanding the initial data in terms spherical harmonics and powers of the geodesic spatial distance ρ to spatial infinity, the NP constants correspond to the data for the second highest possible spherical harmonic at a fixed order in ρ. In addition, it is shown that for generic initial data within the class considered in this article, there is no natural correspondence between the NP constants at future and past null infinity—for both the Maxwell and spin-2 field. However, if the initial data are time-symmetric, then the NP constants at future and past null infinity have the same information.

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