A breathtaking image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows an ‘Einstein ring’. The magnifying light from the far depths of the universe makes you go gaga over the beauty.
The image shows two galaxies, around 3.4 billion light-years from Earth, warp and deflects light from an even more distant galaxy behind them.
The resulting pattern remains the one predicted by Albert Einstein in 1915. It shows six points of light — two clustered in the centre and four threaded around a ring of distorted light.
However, those bright dots don’t come from six galaxies but from three. There are two in the ring’s centre and the third a distant quasar whose light has been bent so much that it appears to be four.
The European Space Agency (ESA) officials said in a statement, “The light from the quasar has been bent around the galaxy pair because of their enormous mass, giving the incredible appearance that the galaxy pair is surrounded by four quasars — whereas, in reality, a single quasar lies far beyond them.”
Einstein’s theory of general relativity describes the way massive objects warp the fabric of the universe which is called space-time.
As discovered by Einstein, gravity is not produced by an unseen force; it is simply our experience of space-time curving and distorting in the presence of matter and energy.
This curved space sets the rules for how energy and matter move here around us all. There have been hundreds of these Einstein rings. As the rings work to magnify the light they bend, forms can enhance the details astronomers are able to spot in very distant galaxies.
Moreover, these Einstein rings can act as a cosmic scale for gauging the masses of galaxies and black holes.
ALSO READ | Volcanoes Responsible For Stabilising Temperatures At Earth’s Surface