Black holes have a reputation for voraciously eating everything in their immediate neighborhood, but these large gravity wells also affect electromagnetic radiation and may hinder our ability to ever locate the center of the universe, according to an international research team.
"Any attempt to discover what was happening a long time ago at the beginning of our universe must take into account what gravitationally assisted negative refraction does to the radiation being viewed," says Dr. Akhlesh Lakhtakia, distinguished professor of engineering science and mechanics, Penn State.
Electromagnetic radiation is affected by the material through which it travels. A material with a negative index of refraction transmits light or other wave energy differently than one with a positive index of refraction. Natural materials have positive index of refraction. When an energy beam – light, radar, microwaves – passes through water or glass or some other natural material, the material displaces the beam in the same direction. The amount of displacement depends upon how different the material is from air or vacuum. The displacement, due to a material with negative index of refraction, is in the opposite direction.
A’ndrea Elyse Messer | EurekAlert!
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