How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works

Question 1149

Can light be bent by electric fields, magnetic fields, and gravity fields? If so, can these fields be made to make light travel in a circle? — RS
Light consists of electromagnetic waves, meaning that it is composed of electric and magnetic fields. While light isn't affected by other electric or magnetic fields, it is affected by gravitational fields. Like everything else in our universe, light falls when exposed to gravity. However, because light travels so fast, it's very hard to detect that it falls. The first observation of light falling in a gravitational field was made during a total eclipse in 1919 and served as dramatic confirmation of the predictions of Einstein's general theory of relativity. As for light traveling in a circle, this can occur near the surface of a black hole. When light traveling tangent to the surface of the black hole falls at just the right rate, it will orbit the black hole indefinitely.

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