First lets talk about gravity, and how it bends spacetime as described in general relativity. All objects with mass bend space and time relative to their mass. You, me, Earth, the Sun all do so. Of course we are so tiny it is hardly anything. But something with a large enough mass will exert an increasing gravity field.
Now light follows the curve of spacetime. So if something bends that spacetime, like a star or a galaxy, light will stay at the same speed but it will follow along that curve and be bent. This effect is gravitational lensing, and when it is curved far enough around it is called an Einstein Ring.
Fun fact, Einstein calculated that our Sun bends light such that it will converge to a focal point about 542 AU away. This lensing effect is the same as any other lens, if we were at this distance away objects on the other side of the sun would be magnified. This could be used in the future to look even deeper into the universe.
Einstein correctly calculated the value for light bending in 1915, expanding upon a theory supposed by Sir Isaac Newton in 1704. He proved it during a total solar eclipse in Brazil in 1919. It took until 1979 before we had telescopes powerful enough to observe this, what we thought was a double quasar was actually just one with its light being bent.
To keep it simple, think about how when you look at something below the surface of the water it is not where it appears to be because the water is bending light, also known as refraction.
This area where light orbits a black hole is called the photon sphere, and it is 150% of the event horizon radius. Say a black hole is 3 solar masses (3x the mass of our sun), that means the black hole would be 9km across – so light would be orbiting it at a distance of 13.5km.
Since light is the fastest thing in the universe, this is the last place anything can orbit. Anything not light in the photon sphere will fall into the hole.
Looking down you would see only blackness, in front and behind you would be infinite light, and above would be the the stars distorted and with duplicate images of the same thing, like a funhouse mirror. You would see stars behind the black hole, as they wrap around its gravity.
Since light can be bent, at a very precise angle, light hitting a black hole will head directly back to the source it came from. We only see because of light being reflected off various things, and it captures an image of how that thing was at the time light bounced off it. It is like a messenger of history. Theoretically, light bounced off the top of a dinosaurs head, traveled 40 million years to be bent at the exact angle to be sent directly back to Earth and 40 million years after being bent by the black hole, hit your eyes. So, it stands to reason that with an ridiculously powerful enough telescope we could use this light to look back into history. It would be like time traveling without being there.
- Can Light Orbit A Black Hole?
- Can a black hole bend light rays?
- Black Hole Description
- Photon sphere
- Gravitational lens
- Journey into and through a Reissner-Nordström black hole
My moment of honesty:
- My interests vary but I strive for quality work, check my blog for proof.
- I will not fill up your feed with crap, I have only resteemed once.
- I will also reply to all your comments if they warrant any reply.
- These things I promise to you. So follow me, or don't. I want you to do what you want to.