Spatial dispersion of light rays propagating through a plasma in Kerr spacetime


We investigate the propagation of light through a plasma on a background Kerr spacetime via a Hamiltonian formulation. The behaviour of light when propagating through a vacuum and through a plasma is not the same; the convolution of gravitational and plasma effects gives rise to a dispersion in both space and time. The magnitude of the dispersion is a strong function of both the ray frequency and impact parameter. We discuss implications for the detection of gravitationally bent pulsar beams near the Galactic centre.