Darren Moss

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Darren Moss
Posted over 1 year ago
If gravity bends light, how do we know we're not looking at the same old light going round and round in circles?
Hi Pabitra! Yes, you understand what I mean! Light does bend all over the place, deflected by gravitational bodies! Okay, so the photon that hits us in the face will stop, but a light source emits a lot of photons (as pointed out by Edward), so some of these photons that we don't see will continue past Earth (possibly being bent a bit again by Earth) and onward through space. Given the size (infinite?) of the universe and the number of gravitational bodies available, it stands to reason that the photons will pass by and be slingshot by more gravitational bodies. To paraphrase Einstein, given an infinite universe and and infinite number of gravitational bodies (Ok I know the mass is finite but there's alot of it!), one photon could eventually do a full 360 degree loop and smack me in the face from another angle. Of course, the additional time that photon takes to travel to my retina means that the image perceived will be that of a much younger star (light source). It's occurring to me though, that these photons will be scattered more every time they are slingshot as photons nearer to the gravitational object will be more effected than those further away, therfore the "image" will be spead out (unfocused), so multiple slingshots will reduce the image to nothing and individual photons will be strewn out all over the universe (?).
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Darren Moss
Posted over 1 year ago
If gravity bends light, how do we know we're not looking at the same old light going round and round in circles?
Hi Edward, thanks for your reply! What I was thinking about was Einstein's now proven theory of light deflection, leading to phenomena such as gravitational lensing. Ok, so light is radiated spherically from the source, but we only see the bit of it that hits us. That bit travelled in a straight line. But if that "straight line" passes by a large mass, or black hole, it is deflected slightly, like rolling a ball into one edge of a dip, it drops into the dip and follows the geodesic, until it pops back out again in a new direction. Or like the bat-mobile harpooning a lamp-post to go round a corner. Or is it? This is what I understand. Or does the light enter the space-time curvature, follow the geodesic, and pop out on the same path as before?