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? gravity and refraction

  1. Apr 23, 2004 #1

    mee

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    ??? gravity and refraction

    I don't know if this is silly, but does gravity refract us towards the earth? :confused:
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 24, 2004 #2
    maybe this is equally silly but please explain your definition of refraction?
     
  4. Apr 24, 2004 #3

    mee

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    If I knew I would be much wiser!
    :smile: It seems our path through space is "bent" back towards the earth due to gravity. I was wondering if it could be some sort of refraction. :smile:
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2004
  5. Apr 25, 2004 #4
    Refraction of light is possible thru its travel between different media such as glass and air, air and water, outer space and the atmosphere, etc.

    The vacuum ("empty space") is the ultimate medium. And curving of this vacuum by gravity is possible by the theory of general relativity. Light is just following the shortest path (geodesic) along the curvature of this vacuum. it is not passing thru different media like refraction. Light is just moving along path of space that uses the least amount of energy. The speed of light is constant at every point of the path while in refraction the speed of light changes from medium to medium as indicated by Snell's law.
     
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