GRAVITATIONAL LENSING

GRAVITATIONAL LENSING - GRAVITATIONAL LENSING A new and...

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GRAVITATIONAL LENSING A new and very exciting method for detecting exoplanets began to be used in 2006. It's based on the idea that the path of a light ray is bent when it passes near a massive object, in the same way that the path of a physical object, a space probe for example, is bent when it goes near a massive object. (See Figure 3.) The space probe's path is bent by the force of gravity, according to Newton's theory of universal gravitation. The bending of the light ray is not in Newton's theory, but it is part of a more sophisticated theory of gravity developed by Einstein around 1916 (and well-corroborated by observations since). In Figure 4 there is a distant and stationary star S2, and a ray of light is shown coming to the observer on earth. S1 is a near star with a planet; the distance from S1 to the planet is fairly large (exaggerated in the diagram). We're watching the earth move in a direction perpendicular to the line from S2. Over the course of a few hours it moves from point (a) to point (g). At (a) the light ray from
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This note was uploaded on 12/15/2011 for the course AST AST1002 taught by Professor Emilyhoward during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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GRAVITATIONAL LENSING - GRAVITATIONAL LENSING A new and...

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