Are Light rays always straight Are Light rays always straight




 Light rays are subject to the effects of gravity. If a ray passes close to a star or galaxy its path is curved by an effect known as ‘gravitational lensing’. This can produce some interesting effects. For example, scientists can observe quasars (see right) which would otherwise be hidden from us behind a much close galaxy. The light curves around the intervening object, allowing us to see it. Depending on how objects are situated in relation to one another, the light from distant bodies can even be broken up into spectacular arcs or rings. The diversion of light also causes variations in brightness. If a star visible from Earth passes in front of another star, the brightness of the more distant star becomes momentarily more intense. I f the star in front is also being orbited by a planet this can lead to a further increase in brightness. Thanks to this phenomenon, astronomers have discovered several planets orbiting other stars.



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