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So, I was reading A brief history of time and it was talking about the sun bending the light of a star causing it to appear on a different place from where it actually was located. I was wondering if light passing the other way around the sun would also be bended towards the earth. Kind of like what I edited in the picture below.

Figure 2.8 with some editing

Does anyone know whether this was simply omitted for simplicity's sake or whether there is a reason light bending around the other way could never reach earth?

if the image from the book is copyrighted, please notify me and I will remove the image.

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You are right that this can happen. There's an example called the Einstein cross. The central galaxy creates four images of the quasar behind it.

An example of an Einstein cross

More common is the Einstein ring, where the image of the object behind is smeared in all directions around the lensing galaxy.

An Einstein Ring

This was left out of the diagram because (if I'm remembering correctly) it is a drawing of the shifting of the positions of stars near the sun during a solar eclipse by Sir Arthur Eddington in 1919. This observation was among the earliest evidence for Einstein's General Relativity.

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Just to add to Mark H's nice answer: in case of Sun, the angle change is too small for light from any one star to get to Earth via both sides of the Sun. You need a much greater object, a lot farther away, to cause enough gravity for that. e.g. one galaxy! This is almost certainly why Hawking chose not to add the extra line as on your diagram.

It is very good that you are alert to copyright issues. There is a rule called 'reasonable use' in which short extracts used for teaching (not commercial) purposes are usually ok. It does not apply to complete artistic works such as poems or pictures where there is a definite artistic purpose being achieved. Diagrams from books are in a middle ground; I think your usage here is fine.

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