I posit this experiment as an earthly analog to gravitational lensing effects predicted by general relativity. Considerable work is being done to mathematically simulate and predict astronomical images that may be the result of light bending effects of massive bodies. Not too many people are building actual black holes. In this experiment, a collimated light beam is projected around the inside surface of a beer can. The resultant images are uncannily similar to actual observed phenomena for black holes. Perhaps very earthly objects like curved and spherical mirrors or lenses can be used to predict new classes of images that may be out there. For example, imagine a shiny ball bearing surrounded by a spherical glass shell. Light shined directly behind the ball bearing will still be projected in front of it. Moreover, the curvature of any mirror/lens can be varied across it to provide the appropriate light deflection relationship. Recent work has associated black holes to fluids exhibiting zero viscosity. Perhaps a more realistic analog involves zero viscosity only at the surface or rim of the black hole. Based on the currently known art, I believe a very massive body like a black hole could resemble a vortex ring(a doughnut) of mass and behave like a fluid with flow behavior index, n, less than 1 (i.e. becomes less viscous with higher shear). This still allows the gravitational bulk of the mass embedded in the mass bubble to inhale through interfacial influences if it has enough energy to penetrate through the black-hole/space interfacial tension surface layer. It also explains light circulation effects as well as matter transfer through the center. Moreover, simulations of interacting black holes give some credence to this idea. A link to a fabulous mathematical simulator for black holes is provided below that allows one to vary the projected light beam at the black hole and observe the result. Other relevant resources are linked as well.
Copyright 2007, www.videophysics.com, All Rights Reserved.