We study the time delay between successive relativistic images in gravitational lensing as a possible discriminator between various collapse end states and hence as a probe of cosmic censorship. Specifically we consider both black hole and naked singularity spacetimes admitting photon spheres where infinite number of relativistic Einstein Rings can be formed at almost same radius and naked singularity spacetimes without photon sphere where multiple relativistic Einstein Rings can form almost up to the center of the lens. The metrics we have considered to sample these scenarios are the Schwarzschild black hole, Janis-Newman-Winicour (naked singularity with photon sphere), Joshi-Malfarina-Narayan, and Tolman-VI (naked singularities without photon sphere) which are a fair sample of the theoretical possibilities. We show that the differential time delay between the relativistic images for naked singularities without photon sphere progressively decreases for the models we study as opposed to that for black holes and naked singularities with photon sphere, where it is known to be roughly constant. This characteristic difference in time delay between successive images for these two cases can be potentially exploited for a source with known intrinsic variability to discriminate between these scenarios even when the images are not spatially resolved.
Date added: Tue, 22 Oct 13