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Effects of a massive object on light and its relation to the 1919 Eclipse

  1. May 18, 2003 #1
    [SOLVED] Effects of a massive object on light and its relation to the 1919 Eclipse

    What happens to light as it passes near a massive object and how it this principle or concept connected to the 1919 lunar eclipse where Einstein’s Photoelectric theory was proved (both the apparent and actual location of the stars were revealed around the area of the eclipse?

    Thanks for any responses in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 18, 2003 #2


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    Science Advisor

    Greetings !

    Light follows the shortest path through
    space-time. The shortest path through
    space-time is called the geodesic path.
    According to General Relativity space-time
    is bent by gravity, or to be more accurate -
    curved space-time IS gravity.

    Thus, the Sun bends space-time and the path
    of light. The effect was predicted by Einstein
    as a consequence of GR and the test in 1919
    by the British Academy of Science (or something
    like that I think) confirmed this. During
    the eclipse the Sun was concealed by the moon
    which allowed the scientists to see stars in
    the background the light from which passed
    very close to it on its way to Earth. The stars
    were not exactly where they were supposed to be
    (a bit farther from the Sun - they were
    seen close "behind" the Sun on its path axis
    instead of being concealed by it or closer to it)
    which meant that their light WAS bent by gravity.
    This was the first (I think) real and relativly
    accurate confirmation of GR.

    Live long and prosper.
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