5. Jair Lucinda, R. L. Cavasso Filho, Gravitational Deflection of Light and of Fast Material Particles

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Volume 12: Pages 429-437, 1999

Gravitational Deflection of Light and of Fast Material Particles

Jair Lucinda 1, R. L. Cavasso Filho 2

1Departamento de Física, Universidade Federal do Paraná, C.P. 19081,81531990, Curitiba, Parana, Brazil

2Instituto de Física Gleb Wataghin, Departamento de Eletrônica Quântica, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, UNICAMP, C.P. 6165, 13083970, Campinas, Saō Paulo, Brazil

Light deflection by gravity is obtained invoking Huygens's principle in a framework that encompasses gravity in a LorentzEinstein set of extended transformation equations. The results obtained within this scheme are compared with that obtained by Schiff, where the equivalence principle was used in order to determine firstorder changes caused by gravity in the light path. The approach of light propagation as a limiting case of the motion of a material particle is also analyzed. This analysis leads to an agreement with the conclusions of other authors, that is, the angular deflection decreases as the speed of a material particle increases. But we do not interpret this conclusion as convincing evidence that gravity does not affect light propagation. Indeed, according to special relativity, the limiting speed c means that mass can be piled onto material particles when we try to increase their speed, that is, it is physically contradictory to require that m →0 as v →c. In conclusion, our analysis makes clear that we must take into account, ab initio, an immense amount of evidence that photons are always created, live, and are absorbed at the speed of light, if we are to have an acceptable description of how photons respond to gravity.

Keywords: light bending, field boost, gravitational deflection of fast particles, effect of gravity on spacetime intervals, extreme relativistic approximation of massive particles' motion, nonmetric approach to gravity, gravitational interaction and the invariance of the speed of light, particles' speed at the border of a black hole

Received: May 26, 1998; Published online: December 15, 2008