The Bending of Light

Essay add: 8-12-2015, 15:51   /   Views: 18
The Bending of Light

According to Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, light can be bent. This is a concept that seems to contradict the well-known law that states that all light travels in a straight line. But they do not contradict each other. Light does travel in a straight line; only the space-time continuum bends around it causing it to change direction. This bend or warp in the space-time continuum is a result of the presence of mass, also known as gravity.

Gravity is a force that is always present, always consistent but has never been understood. Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity tries to illustrate what gravity is. He explains it something like this.

Picture flat space as a normal grid made of rubber. Now picture something pushing down on the center of the grid. You end up with the picture on the left. Press harder and you get the picture on the right. Now roll a marble through it. The marble will roll down and be slingshot out with a path that appears to be curved. This "pressing" is analogous to the presence of mass. The presence of mass is the cause of gravity wells. Let say this mass that is "pressing" down is the sun. Now send a spaceship through its gravitational field. It will enter orbit momentarily but will have too great a velocity and will slingshot out. Light is the same way, it will enter this "gravity well" and be slingshotted out. Although light has no mass it is still effected by warps the space-time continuum.

This theory of gravity wells caused by mass is very radical yet it makes a lot of sense. I'll explain if you look at the formula for the force of gravity you will notice a direct correlation between the way the equation is plotted out on a graph and the shape of the diagram above. The equation states that gravity is always proportional to the mass of the two objects and is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the two objects. If you look at a plotted graph for an inverse square you will notice something. As the x-value increases the line becomes infinitely closer to the x-axis, yet never reaching it. This is exactly the same as gravity. Gravity is an infinite force that spans across the universe, but as the distance between two objects increases the force of gravity between them infinitely approaches zero, yet it will never reach it. The same is with sis the graph above. The slope going up will infinitely try to approach the datum plane but will never reach it this proves that Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity is very credible, thus confirming that light will bend.

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