Gravitational Lensing: How Does it Work?

In summary, there are two physical phenomena: the path a photon takes when traveling from one location to another is determined by the shortest time, and time is slowed down in a gravitational field. This is how gravitational lensing works, as a photon will avoid a galaxy with a large gravitational field in order to maintain its speed. This explains why it appears as though light is bending around the galaxy. However, this is not how gravity works on all forms of matter. It only affects matter and energy, not light or other forms of radiation.
  • #1
Random Guy
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I have heard of two physical phenomena:
1. A photon traveling from one location to another, goes the path that takes the shortest time. (More correctly, the quickest paths has the highest probability amplitude)
2. Time is slowed down in a gravitational field.

Is this how gravitational lensing works?:
A photon in a distant galaxy chose to travel to earth.
Another galaxy with a large gravitational field is in the way.
To avoid being slowed down, the photon avoids that galaxy. Instead it goes around it.
From earth, it looks like the otherwise straight photon path have been bent by the middle galaxy.

Is this how gravity works on all kinds of matter?
 
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  • #2
No, gravity only works on matter and energy. It does not affect light or other forms of radiation in the same way.
 
  • #3


Yes, this is essentially how gravitational lensing works. When a photon travels through space, it follows the path of least resistance, which is the shortest amount of time. In the presence of a massive object, such as a galaxy, the space-time around it is curved due to its gravitational field. This curvature affects the path of the photon, causing it to bend around the object instead of directly towards it. This is similar to how a marble would roll around a curved surface instead of going straight towards the center.

This phenomenon is not limited to photons, but can also occur with all forms of matter. In fact, Einstein's theory of general relativity states that all objects with mass are affected by gravity and will follow curved paths in the presence of a massive object. This is why planets orbit around the sun and why galaxies are held together by their own gravitational pull. So yes, this is how gravity works on all kinds of matter.

Additionally, the slowing down of time in a gravitational field, known as time dilation, is also a result of the curvature of space-time. The stronger the gravitational field, the greater the curvature and the stronger the time dilation effect. This is why time moves slower near massive objects such as black holes.

In summary, gravitational lensing is a result of the curvature of space-time caused by the presence of massive objects, and this is how gravity works on all forms of matter. It is a fascinating phenomenon that has allowed scientists to study and observe distant galaxies and objects that would otherwise be impossible to see.
 

Related to Gravitational Lensing: How Does it Work?

1. What is gravitational lensing?

Gravitational lensing is a phenomenon in which light from a distant object is bent by the gravitational pull of a massive object, creating a distorted and magnified image of the object.

2. How does gravitational lensing work?

Gravitational lensing occurs because mass bends the fabric of space-time, causing light to follow a curved path around the mass. The more massive the object, the stronger its gravitational pull, and the greater the distortion of light.

3. What objects can cause gravitational lensing?

Any object with a large amount of mass can cause gravitational lensing, including stars, planets, galaxies, and clusters of galaxies. The effect is strongest when the mass is concentrated and has a strong gravitational pull.

4. Can gravitational lensing be used to study distant objects?

Yes, gravitational lensing can be used as a natural telescope to study distant objects that would otherwise be too faint or small to observe. It allows us to see objects that are billions of light-years away and study their properties in detail.

5. Is gravitational lensing a rare occurrence?

No, gravitational lensing is a common phenomenon in the universe. However, it is not easily observable as it requires precise alignment of the distant object, the lensing object, and the observer. Moreover, the effect may only last for a short period of time.

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