Is it possible that some of the stars and galaxies we observe here on Earth are actually replicates of other stars and galaxies we are observing from different angles because of curved spacetime?
Let's say there is a star a few billion light years away. It emits photons in all directions. Some photons are travelling in a semi-direct path towards Earth. Some photons are travelling in a 90 degree angle away from Earth, so we'd never see them. However, over time the star's photons that started off moving 90 degrees away from Earth pass by giant black holes -- maybe even a series of black holes -- not close enough to get caught, but close enough it bends the light altering it's trajectory enough to put it on course to be observable on Earth.
Based on that example -- if possible -- then there would be a few differences in the way it looked when we observed it even though it is from the same source:
- We'd observe the star from two points in time.
- We'd observe the star from two different distances.
If this is possible, how would we know it -- or, could we know it?
Conceptually, it would be as if the universe had a bunch of mirrors (gravity) scattered throughout taking light coming in from one angle and reflecting (curving) it so it is observable at an otherwise impossible angle much like a dressing room where we can see ourselves from multiple angles simultaneously.
It would probably only be possible for very distant, very bright objects -- if at all.
Thanks for your thought nuggets...