Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Curve your expectations: Observing planets and galaxies with the help of gravity

By Shane Huntington

Cosmologist Dr Bart Pindor explains gravitational lensing, in which the curvature of space by gravity allows us to investigate galaxies and other astral bodies.

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SHANE HUNTINGTON
I’m Dr Shane Huntington thanks for joining us. Almost 100 years ago Albert Einstein published a paper describing the geometric nature of space, better known as General Relativity. In this document Einstein described gravity in terms of the shape of space we find ourselves in. Near massive objects like planets and stars, space is distorted and we feel this distortion as gravity. Einstein's ideas today are of great significance to our everyday lives. Without General Relativity many of the things we take for granted, such as our GPS systems would not function with any acceptable degree of accuracy, but what about if we look further afield into the universe? How do Einstein's predictions bear out over much larger distances, well beyond the reach of the solar system, or even our own galaxy? Today on Up Close, we'll be speaking to astrophysicist Bart Pindor to explore these questions. Dr Bart Pindor is a research scientist in the School of Physics at the University of Melbourne. Welcome to Up Close Bart.

BART PINDOR:
Thank you very much Shane.

SHANE HUNTINGTON:
What exactly does Einstein's Theory of General Relativity actually tell us?

BART...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.