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Can we see our own galaxy out there due to gravitational effects?

  1. May 13, 2009 #1

    NWH

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    This is a bit of a dumb question, so I apologise for the bluntness, but I was wondering. Can we see our own Milky Way out there in space due to gravitational effects? I understand that gravity allows us to view single galaxies in duplicate positions across the sky, it made me question whether we can see our own galaxy out there somewhere due to similar effects.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 13, 2009 #2

    sylas

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    No.

    You can get gravitational lensing resulting in light taking very slightly different paths over enormous distances, as it is curved by passing around a large cluster of galaxies, and this results in multiple images of other galaxies far behind the cluster. But there's not enough mass to turn light right around.

    Here's a Hubble photo showing multiple images of the same galaxy.
    148928main_image_feature_575_ys_4.jpg
    (source; Hubble Captures A "Five-Star" Rated Gravitational Lens, NASA)
     
  4. May 13, 2009 #3

    NWH

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    Yeah, I figured the answer would be blunt, thanks. So, these duplicate galaxies we're viewing, are they from precicely the same moment time? Or are we viewing the galaxies from different moments in time?

    In that picture you posted, what is the body which is bending the light? Is it visible in this picture?
     
  5. May 13, 2009 #4

    sylas

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    Images are from different times, depending on how long light took on that particular path.

    To get an effect like this, you need a whole cluster of galaxies, not a single body. I think that the other galaxies you see in the image are part of that cluster.
     
  6. May 13, 2009 #5

    Chronos

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    How would you know if you were looking at a distant version of the MW? I seriously doubt that is possible, but, how would you know?
     
  7. Jun 6, 2009 #6
    From what I have read on other forums, it is possible for light to orbit a black hole.
    If this is the case, is it also possible for light to travel in the opposite direction in the same way that Apollo 13 used the Moon's gravity to return to Earth?
    Of course the odds would be astronomically small of this happening, but isn't this still possible?
     
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