Multiwavelength focusing with the Sun as gravitational lens
The light deviation caused by the gravitational potential in the vicinity of the sun could be used as a means of focussing radiation that cannot be focussed easily otherwise. The gravitational lens formed by the sun is not stigmatic, but does have the advantage of being achromatic and acts identically on all types of mass-less radiations. For a source at infinity, its geometrical characteristics present a “caustic” line starting at 550 astronomical units (UA) downstream from the sun. In a plane perpendicular to that caustic line, images of distant objects are formed.
The perturbations by the solar corona plasma will significantly blur electromagnetic radiation for wavelengths longer than those of the IR domain. At shorter wavelengths, for example the γ domain, the focussing process could lead to 108 amplification factors. In order to reach the regions where images are formed, long distance space missions are necessary. Once launched, missions of this type would be dedicated to a single field. Some possible targets are considered, such as Sagitarius A observed in X and γ rays.
In this paper we study the point spread function (PSF) of the sun as a gravitational lens. Taking into account perturbations by the planets, the non sphericity of the sun and coronal plasma index, we derive limits within which such observations could be possible.
KeywordsBlack Hole Focal Plane Point Spread Function Accretion Disk Solar Radius
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