An Analysis of New Approaches to Weak Gravitational Lensing

Document Type

Grant Proposal

Date Accepted

Spring 2009

Project Description/Abstract

The pictures that we see in our telescopes represent the final imaging of beams of light that have traveled across the universe from distant sources. These beams from far distant galaxies are continuously distorted by the gravity of other galaxies along the journey to us. When the distortion involves changing the shape of the beam, the effect is called weak gravitational lensing. To date, nearly all efforts to model this distortion involve invoking a “thin-lens” approximation where all the distortion is collapsed into one instant. Recently, preliminary work suggests the feasibility of more physical continuous models of weak gravitational lensing and possibly significant differences from the distortion predicted by the thin-lens approximation. The purpose of this FLRG is to further develop and analyze those continuous models and rigorously examine the thin-lens approximation. FLRG funds will be primarily used to collaborate with leading researchers and purchase necessary computer software.

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