This was a term project for PHYS 350 (Applications of Classical Mechanics), which involved making a simulation or physical model to demonstrate an advanced classical physics topic (classical being anything but quantum physics). Our group chose to make a Gravitational Lensing simulation and incorporate it into and iPhone app so that you could easily interact with it. In the end we made two simulations. The first was a 2D Ray-Tracing simulation that demonstrated the effects of light passing by a black hole. Secondly we made an Einstein Ring simulation that showed how an object would look if it were directly between you (the observer) and a black hole. For the iPhone app we made it possible to take photos or load photos from the photo library to see the Einstein Ring effect on something other than stars and galaxies.
I was responsible for creating graphics for the simulations and the iPhone app. We didn't release the app on the App Store for mostly financial reasons, however some screenshots are shown below.
Gravitational Lensing is the bending of light due to a change in curvature of space-time due to very massive objects such as galaxies, galaxy clusters and black holes. This can produce all sorts of interesting effects such as Einstein Rings, Einstein Crosses and much more.
If you want more details on Gravitational Lensing you can check out our research paper here. Otherwise enjoy some of the cool photos and videos from our simulations below.
This video shows our Einstein Ring simulation running on my computer. The center of the black hole follows the mouse around the screen and lenses whatever is behind it.