Skip to main content

Gravitational Lensing

One profound result of Einstein’s theory of general relativity: gravity bends the path of light, much as it affects the path of massive objects. Very massive astronomical bodies, such as galaxies and galaxy clusters, can magnify the light from more distant objects, letting astronomers observe objects that would ordinarily be too far to see. Even the gravity from planets affects light, allowing researchers to detect worlds in orbit around other stars. This effect is called “gravitational lensing”, and it’s used to discover faint astronomical objects and to study the “lenses” themselves through their gravitational effects.