Superluminal Spot Pair Events in Astronomical Settings: Sweeping Beams
© 2015 Astronomical Society of Australia. Sweeping beams of light can cast spots moving with superluminal speeds across scattering surfaces. Such faster-than-light speeds are well-known phenomena that do not violate special relativity. It is shown here that under certain circumstances, superluminal spot pair creation and annihilation events can occur that provide unique information to observers. These spot pair events are not particle pair events they are the sudden creation or annihilation of a pair of relatively illuminated spots on a scattering surface. Real spot pair illumination events occur unambiguously on the scattering surface when spot speeds diverge, while virtual spot pair events are observer dependent and perceived only when real spot radial speeds cross the speed of light. Specifically, a virtual spot pair creation event will be observed when a real spot's speed toward the observer drops below c, while a virtual spot pair annihilation event will be observed when a real spot's radial speed away from the observer rises above c. Superluminal spot pair events might be found angularly, photometrically, or polarimetrically, and might carry useful geometry or distance information. Two example scenarios are briefly considered. The first is a beam swept across a scattering spherical object, exemplified by spots of light moving across Earth's Moon and pulsar companions. The second is a beam swept across a scattering planar wall or linear filament, exemplified by spots of light moving across variable nebulae including Hubble's Variable Nebula. In local cases where the sweeping beam can be controlled and repeated, a three-dimensional map of a target object can be constructed. Used tomographically, this imaging technique is fundamentally different from lens photography, radar, and conventional lidar.
Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia
Superluminal Spot Pair Events in Astronomical Settings: Sweeping Beams.
Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia,
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