MadSci Network: Physics

Re: Why is light bent near massive objects and describe a photon's life

Area: Physics
Date: Thu Nov 20 11:08:09 1997
Area of science: Physics
ID: 877556667.Ph

I. You are still thinking of the photon as traveling in a curved line around a massive object as though it were affected by the mass. The mass of the photon, real or 'effective' mass does not determine its path through space. The photon travels in a perfectly straight line across the bow of a star, for instance, but we percieve that path as bent because space is bent. The photon itself is unaffected. A photon trapped at the event horizon of a black hole, for instance, is not affected by the gravity of the black hole. According to the photon's perspective, it is speeding away from the black hole at light speed. Unfortunately, space is curved totally inward. The effect is very much like how a bird can fly apparently motionless into a headwind, and appear to hover indefinitely.

II. A photon does not experience its own existence. To a photon the moment of its creation is the moment of its annihilation and all distances in the universe are equal to zero from every point to every other point - hence, to a photon, the universe is still infinitely small... Like it was when it was created. Remember: everything in the universe is ultimately made of waveforms of some sort.

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