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Another newbie question

  1. Aug 12, 2006 #1
    tTs said that objects effect the space around them. Example is if we look near the sun and see a star(or planet) that really is blocked by sun, so the light bends around and we view it. Well how does this pertain all of the viewable space we see out there? I mean if I view one star or galaxy , then I view another star or galaxy near by, couldn't there be a chance the closer object might bend the light of the object futher out? How does that change the way we view the universe as a whole?

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 12, 2006 #2


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    The amount of bending by the sun is very small, so it is noticeable with very precise measurements. However, the same effect is more apparent when light passes close to a galaxy. Lensing effects take place and we can see multiple images and other distortions.
  4. Aug 12, 2006 #3


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    In fact, a lot of research is being devoted to answering just that question. As mathman has already suggested, the deviations are very small -- the sky wouldn't look any different to your eye if there were no gravitational distortions. However, we can detect the difference with our telescopes and it turns out to be a powerful tool for studying the distribution of mass in the universe. Gravitational lensing appears in many contexts, including studies of quasars, the cosmic microwave background, the large-scale distribution of matter, dark matter, galaxy and cluster masses, and even extrasolar planets.
  5. Aug 12, 2006 #4

    Any related topics I can read on here ? Mabe a hot topic to look over?

  6. Aug 12, 2006 #5
    Besides I havent really thought about this question much till a few days ago. Been bugging me :P
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