Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Magnetic Field Lines/Location in space

  1. Mar 31, 2008 #1
    Ok, new to the board, but I have a question...

    Given that large amounts of mass can significantly alter the trajectory of light (e.g. gravitational lenses), I take this to mean that 'space' itself is being warped, and hence the photon/wave's trajectory, so does the warping of space also affect the location of magnetic fields in space?

    for instance, if I have large mass sitting an arbitrary distance from a magnet of arbitrary size and strength, what will happen to the magnetic field of the magnet if that mass were to suddenly disappear? Would the field elongate or change shape in any way?

    Or are the locations/geometries of magnetic fields independent of gravitational warping of space?

    I just figure that since light/matter is influenced by gravity, that magnetic fields might be as well...

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 2, 2008 #2
    Light can be construed as an electromagnetic wave. If the path of light bends, then the orientation of the electromagnetic fields associated with its' propogation will bend as well.

    Conceptually, if the leading edge of a propogating EM wave is alway r=ct (spatially) from its' origin, then the trailing edge would have to lag (locally elongating/red-shifting the wave) to account for the additional path length through space.


  4. Feb 2, 2010 #3
    A history reminder:

    Around 1870 after Maxwell had finalised his equations that completely described electromagnetism, he manipulated the revised Ampere law and discovered that he had arrived at a wave equation. He calculated the speed of the waves and discovered that it was equal to the known speed of light. Being the genius that he was, he concluded that it was no coincidence and that light was nothing more that a part of the EM spectrum.

    Therefore if light from a star bends around a mass like the sun then so would a radio wave or a microwave - they are all the same things except for thier frequency.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook