- Einstein’s ring 3.5 billion light years away in the constellation Fornax
- This is the result of light from a distant object passing through a large gravitational field.
- It amplifies distant light, making it easier to observe from Earth
- In this case astronomers can study light from a nine-billion-year-old galaxy
- This phenomenon was first predicted by Albert Einstein in 1915, which he referred to as gravitational lensing, and formed part of general relativity.
A distant galaxy, which dates back to a time when the universe was going through a ‘baby boom’, has been studied by astronomers thanks to the ‘Einstein Ring’ phenomenon.
The surprising and unusual cosmic display occurs when the gravitational field of a massive object distorts space and deflects light from the object behind it.
It was first predicted by Albert Einstein in 1915, and the latest observation was 3.5 billion light-years from Earth in the furnace, the southern constellation of Fornax.
The phenomenon appears as a circle with points of light at the center and was first observed by astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope in December last year.
To understand the galaxy behind the ring, a new analysis of the Hubble image was carried out by a team from the Universidad Politecnica de Cartagena in Murcia, Spain.
They found that the light from the Milky Way was nine billion years old, suggesting that it originated when the universe was only five billion years old and was undergoing a ‘baby boom’ of new galactic and star formation.
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The surprising and unusual cosmic display occurs when the gravitational field of a massive object distorts space and deflects light from the object behind it
What is Einstein’s ring?
Einstein’s ring is formed when light from a galaxy or star passes through the gravitational field of a large object on its way to Earth.
This is the result of a phenomenon known as gravitational lensing.
This is where the light is diverted, making it look like it came from different places.
If the source of light, lens and observer are in perfect alignment, the light appears as a ring.
Gravitational lensing was predicted by Albert Einstein in his General Theory of Relativity, suggesting that light is bent by the presence of a massive body.
The Einstein ring is a special case of gravitational lensing, as it requires ‘exact alignment’ to appear.
This acts to magnify the light from a distant object, making it easier for astronomers to study objects that may not be visible to their telescope.
In some cases it can increase the magnification of an object by 20 times.
The Einstein ring is an effect of gravitational lensing, a universal ‘grand illusion’ that was proposed as part of the law of general relativity.
More than a century ago Einstein said that if gravity distorts space like a rubber sheet stretches and twists, it would result in images of distant objects being larger, brighter, and larger than those of the Funhouse mirror. will be deformed.
This is because their light will be bent as it travels across the invisible tapestry of space and sometimes through gravitational ‘pits’ formed by the mass of objects coming in the path of Earth’s light path.
Seeing the illusion requires powerful telescopes, such as the Hubble Space Telescope which was first launched in August 1990.
The Einstein Ring is one of the most surprising manifestations of this phenomenon – appearing as a doughnut-like loop of light.
The latest example seen by Hubble in 2020 is cataloged as GAL-CLUS-022058s and has been nicknamed the ‘melted ring’ by astronomers.
The lensing effect creates multiple images of a distant galaxy’s material, magnifying the light so that it appears blurry in an arc shape.
Light from this distant galaxy took nine billion years to reach Earth, but the magnification gives astronomers a closer glimpse into the distant past.
The extremely high rates of star formation in the brightest and most dusty early galaxies saw the birth of stars a thousand times faster than in our own galaxy, leading to the era being called the universe’s ‘baby boom’.
This is a reference to the post-WW2 baby boom, which led to an entire generation born between 1946 and 1964 being labeled Baby Boomers.
According to the team working with the Hubble Space Telescope, this could help explain the rapid formation of giant elliptical galaxies of the present day.
The lensing effect in this image magnified the distant galaxy by a factor of 20, expanding Hubble’s lens to a 48 m aperture – compared to its typical 2.4 m.
The lensing effect produces multiple apparitions around the curved arc of a single background magnified galaxy, making it visible in many forms.
To understand the galaxy behind the ring, the new analysis of the Hubble image was carried out by a team from the Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena in Murcia, Spain.
To obtain the physical properties of the Milky Way, astronomers had to accurately model the effects of lensing on the image of the Milky Way.
‘Such a model can only be achieved with Hubble imaging,’ explained principal investigator Anastasio Díaz-Sanchez, adding that ‘In particular, Hubble helped us identify four duplicate images and stellar clusters of the lensed galaxy.’
The initial observations of Hubble were first made by Saurabh Jha of Rutgers, State University of New Jersey.
This cosmic display, formally known as gravitational lensing, was predicted by the famous physicist Albert Einstein in 1915.
His team’s science goal was to use Hubble’s sharp image to reveal the intricate structure detailed in the ring arcs.
Experts have been able to test his theory of general relativity within the Solar System and prove that Einstein’s groundbreaking work is up to scrutiny.
Institute of Thomas Colette University of Cosmology and Gravitational…