[1206.3077] Can strong gravitational lensing distinguish naked singularities from black holes?

Authors: Satyabrata Sahu, Mandar Patil, D. Narasimha, Pankaj S. Joshi

Date: 14 Jun 2012

Abstract: In this paper we study gravitational lensing in the strong field limit from the perspective of cosmic censorship, to investigate whether or not naked singularities, if at all they exist in nature, can be distinguished from black holes. We study the gravitational lensing in the strong field regime in the JMN spacetime, a spherically symmetric geometry that contains a naked singularity and which matches smoothly with Schwarzschild metric beyond a finite radius. This metric is a toy model which was shown recently to be the end state of gravitational collapse. In the presence of the photon sphere gravitational lensing signature of this spacetime is identical to that of Schwarzschild black hole with infinitely many relativistic images and Einstein rings, all of them located beyond a certain critical angle from optic axis and the inner relativistic images all clumped together. However, in the absence of the photon sphere, which is the case for a wide range of parameter values in this spacetime, we show that we get finitely many relativistic images and Einstein rings spaced reasonably apart from one another, some of which can be formed inside the critical angle for the corresponding Schwarzschild black hole. This study suggests that the observation of relativistic images and rings might, in principle, allow us to unravel the existence of the naked singularity in the absence of the photon sphere. The results obtained here are in contrast with the earlier investigation on JNW naked singularities where relativistic images and rings were always absent in the absence of the photon sphere. We also point out the practical difficulties that might be encountered in the observation of the relativistic images and suggest that new dedicated experiments and techniques must be developed in future for this purpose.

abs pdf

Jun 20, 2012

1206.3077 (/preprints)
2012-06-20, 12:17 [edit]


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