Caustic Crossing Events

Adviser: Adi Zitrin

Student: ארבל שור

Abstract

In optics, caustic is the envelope of light rays that is refracted by a curved surface. The simplest example is at the bottom of a swimming pool, one can observe a web-like light pattern (caustic web) due to diffraction of the light hitting the water surface.
Einstein’s theory of General Relativity describes how a distribution of mass generates spacetime curvature. As spacetime curves around the mass distribution light paths (null geodesics) appear to bend and diverge from the classical prediction of straight lines. This bending of light rays is called gravitational lensing. Given some angular-area mass distribution in the night sky, one can perform the necessary calculations to arrive at the caustic lines that arise from the lensing effect. From these calculations one can simulate the effect on a distant light source as it traverses the curved geometry.
In this project I will simulate (using MATLAB) the optical effects of a distant light source crossing a caustic line, given a distribution of low mass bodies – a phenomenon called Microlensing.
Advertised on Oct. 4, 2020
Abstract added on Oct. 5, 2020
Abstract approved on Nov. 2, 2020 by Kovetz, Ely (kovetz)