NASA examines distant "Einstein Ring" galaxy seen by the Hubble Telescope

NASA scientists have been examining the mysterious distant galaxy that has been made visible not just by the Hubble Space Telescope but also a deep-space optical phenomenon known as an "Einstein Ring".

Einstein Ring Space Photo
What will this 'Einstein Ring' reveal

The Hubble is one of the largest tools used in astronomy that has ever been sent into space. The Hubble Space Telescope has been orbiting the Earth since 1990 at an altitude of approximately 540km, it is responsible for capturing some of the most amazing deep space images that humanity has ever seen.

Just last December, Hubble captured an image of one of the most complete "Einstein Rings" that has ever been seen, a phenomenon theorised by the great scientist in his general theory of relativity - modern day scientists have now published their research into what it was that they were looking at. The unusual appearance of the object is due to gravitational lensing, that that occurs when light from a distant galaxy is warped by a massive object between the source and the observer.

Einstein Ring Photo
The gravity of a cluster of stars aligned perfectly between Hubble and the galaxy in the distance makes the light lens

This was first theorised in 1912 before Einstein officially published his theory later in 1916, the phenomenon seen by Hubble shows the light of a distant galaxy being magnified by a factor of 20.

It effectively made Hubble's observing capacity equivalent to that of a 48-metre-aperture (157ft) telescope, compared to the 2.4m (7.8 feet) aperture it actually has.

These physical properties have only just been discovered after astronomers precisely modelled the effects of the lensing on the image of the distant galaxy.

Pillars of Creation in Space
Hubble previously captured this image, known as the Pillars of Creation, showing stars being born

Anastasio Diaz-Sanchez, lead investigator, of the Universidad Politecnica de Cartagena in Spain said, "Such a model could only be obtained with the Hubble imaging,"

"In particular, Hubble helped us to identify the four duplicated images and the stellar clumps of the lensed galaxy," added Díaz-Sánchez.

The initial Hubble observation was first carried out by Professor Saurabh Jha of Rutgets, the State University of New Jersey. His team had the aim to use the sharp image from Hubble to reveal detailed complex structure in the arcs of the ring itself.

Professor Jha nicknamed the image the "Molten Ring" alluding to its appearance and its host constellation of Fornax (the Furnace) visible from the southern hemisphere.

If you are interested in deep-space then make sure you check out our most recent posts about UFOs! Don't forget to follow us on Facebook for further stories like this.


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