MadSci Network: Astronomy

Re: Did/will the light from SGR 1806-20's death reach us more than once?

Date: Sat Feb 19 15:55:31 2005
Posted By: Steve Nelson, research physicist
Area of science: Astronomy
ID: 1108784330.As

This is quite a few questions in one, you've obviously put a lot of thought
into this.  We are indeed looking to pinpoint the locations of massive dark
objects by making use of the fact that their gravitation bends light.  It's
called gravitational lensing, and can generally be observed as a temporary
brightening of a distant star.  As a massive body passes between us and the
star, its light is focused in a lens-like manner by the gravitation.  More
information on gravitational lensing can be found here:

According to modern cosmology, as the universe expanded and cooled it
reached a point where matter was diffuse enough to allow light to travel
freely through space.  The light from this point in the universe remains
with us, we observe it as the cosmic microwave background radiation.  For
some further information on measuring the size and age of the universe, and
the extent of the physical universe, see here:

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