Relativistic Optics


Principal Investigator

Craig Savage

Department of Physics and Theoretical Physics

Faculty of Science


w17 - PC

This project has produced photorealistic animations of scenes moving with relativistic speeds. We have incorporated a wide range of real effects, such as shadows and reflections. These have given new insight into relativistic optics.  


What are the results to date and the future of this work?

ANU Distinguished Scholar Antony Searle has developed and released the relativistic ray tracer "Backlight". This is capable of producing photorealistic images of complex scenes. Details can be found on the web site: During 1998 we ran Backlight on the PC to produce, with the assistance of the VizLab, approximately 8 minutes of new broadcast quality video. This video is used to teach relativistic optics in ANU undergraduate physics courses.

What computational techniques are used?

Backlight was written by incorporating relativistic physics into standard raytracing algorithms.

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