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NASA Space

Hubble Telescope Discovers a Light-Bending 'Einstein Ring' In Space (space.com) 71

Space.com reports of the Hubble Space Telescope's discovery of a light-bending "Einstein Ring" in space: The perfect circle surrounding a galaxy cluster in a new Hubble Space Telescope image is a visual indicator of the huge masses that are bending time and space in that region. The galaxy cluster, called SDSS J0146-0929, features hundreds of individual galaxies all bound together by gravity. There's so much mass in this region that the cluster is distorting light from objects behind it. This phenomenon is called an Einstein ring. The ring is created as the light that comes from distant objects, like galaxies, passes by "an extremely large mass, like this galaxy cluster," NASA said in a statement. "In this image, the light from a background galaxy is diverted and distorted around the massive intervening cluster and forced to travel along many different light paths toward Earth, making it seem as though the galaxy is in several places at once." The ring is named after Albert Einstein, who wrote his theory of general relativity in the early 1900s. In it, he suggested that a massive object would warp space and time. This process is known today as a gravitational lens. When the most massive galaxies and galaxy clusters get in line with a more distant object, they produce an Einstein ring -- a type of gravitational lens.

Hubble Telescope Discovers a Light-Bending 'Einstein Ring' In Space

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  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Friday April 13, 2018 @04:01AM (#56429601)

    But, whenever I see these Hubble deep space images, I am still blown away just looking at all the galaxies in the photo.

    Douglas Adams nailed it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Douglas Adams nailed it.

      Though, our local pharmacy closed down, so for us, it's not peanuts for us anymore...

  • "making it seem as though the galaxy is in several places at once." sounds cool. Just like in sci-fi movies.
  • How is this news? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Edis Krad ( 1003934 ) on Friday April 13, 2018 @04:25AM (#56429663)

    Not to flame or anything - I'm honestly asking - but haven't we discovered already hundreds of gravitational lensed galaxies already? What's different about this one?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It is not a perfect circle - not even close. To make a perfectly circular Einstein ring would require the large mass to be at a singularity, with no other mass nearby, and no mass between the ring and the observer, to further perturb the bending light (from the observer's frame of reference).

    Problem is, the mass that is creating the ring is not a singularity, so light is not bent uniformly around it, and the "circle" is not perfect.

    • "...and the circle is not perfect."

      No such thing as a perfect circle anywhere, except maybe in just the math itself - and pi goes on & on...

      • "...and the circle is not perfect."

        No such thing as a perfect circle anywhere, except maybe in just the math itself - and pi goes on & on...

        I've been called a perfect asshole from time to tie. Does that count?

        • Hey leave my asshole outa this! : ) I was just carrying the torch of pedantry forward-there are limits to the precision of our measurements. Personally, I read "perfect circle" as visually "close enough" to a circle, to count as perfect. 0..o..O...there we go!
        • Isn't that more like a *
          Only one asshole I know of looks like a O

      • "...and the circle is not perfect."

        No such thing as a perfect circle anywhere, except maybe in just the math itself - and pi goes on & on...

        Drop a pebble into a calm pool of water?

        (I commented to my physics professor once that primitive humans see lines everywhere, but never circles. This is what he responded with.)

        • >> I commented to my physics professor once that primitive humans see lines everywhere, but never circles

          If you had grown up outside of Seattle, you might have also thought about "the sun" and "the moon" as examples of circular things primitives could experience.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            >> I commented to my physics professor once that primitive humans see lines everywhere, but never circles

            If you had grown up outside of Seattle, you might have also thought about "the sun" and "the moon" as examples of circular things primitives could experience.

            Oblate spheroids [like the Sun] can only be circles from certain points of vantage.

            • by meglon ( 1001833 )
              And from a human point of vantage on planet dirt, it's anywhere... at least until your eyes burn out. Advisor tip #47a: stick with looking at the moon.
        • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

          The human pupil is pretty circular, isn't it?

      • No such thing as a perfect circle anywhere, except maybe in just the math itself - and pi goes on & on...

        Profile of a neutron star?

  • by sTERNKERN ( 1290626 ) on Friday April 13, 2018 @08:19AM (#56430167)
    I have seen this article pop up on every major site, but it still makes me wonder.. why are we so keen on this particular ring? We have seen this phenomenon quite many times.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    reminder for me to don't take shit too seriously as it relates to the cosmos, it really is small potatoes.
    happy Friday!

  • Was there any sign of the protomolecule? :o

  • "The galaxy cluster, called SDSS J0146-0929, features hundreds of individual galaxies all bound together by gravity."

    Not to be picky, but all the other trillions of galaxies are also bound together by gravity, it's sort of a 'thing' that all galaxies have.

  • I dunno - are they sure JJ Abrams was not involved in taking the photograph?

  • It is getting ahead of the observations to label the observation as gravitational. If we were looking down the barrel of a plasma filament, Weâ(TM)d probably see something similar.
    • by meglon ( 1001833 )
      Electric Universe crap is bullshit. It explains nothing, and requires Einstein to be wrong.... he wasn't, and the electric universe cult of morons can't even come up with math to show their own bullshit might be right, let alone any observational data that does. Give up your religious Eu bullshit and quit being stupid.
  • All mass, without any exceptions bend light, not just very large masses.

    However, we don't normally notice these effects unless the mass is very large.

    At very tiny scales, like single protons, quantum and other effects dominate -- but the tiny mass does effect light.

    I suspect that masses greater than that of Jupiter are required, before we can easily notice a mass bending light. Here I'd love to be wrong!

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