Hubble Utilizes Cosmic Optical Illusion to Monitor a Quasar 17 Billion Light-Years Away

Hubble Utilizes Cosmic Optical Illusion to Monitor a Quasar 17 Billion Light-Years Away

The forthcoming Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will utilize a variation of this technique called microlensing to find distant exoplanets by looking at how light bends when one star passes in front of another.

FREMONT, CA: The Hubble Space Telescope captured an optical illusion this week that is allowing researchers to peer even further into the depths of our universe. Hubble obtained this image using gravitational lensing, which shows four brilliant galaxies creating a ring around an even brighter core pair.

Top 10 Space Tech Solution Companies - 2020However, there aren't six galaxies in the center of this image, as it appears – there are two galaxies and one very, very distant quasar, which is a galaxy's incredibly luminous nucleus.

This effect occurs when the two galaxies that are closer to us act as a magnifying glass on the quasar 2M1310-1714, which is 17 billion light-years away. Because the galaxies have so enormous mass, gravity bends the light rays emanating from the quasar, making it more apparent.

Because of this bending, it appears that there are four points of light around the pair of galaxies, but, in fact, there is only one quasar whose light has been warped to appear as four.

Although gravitational lensing is visually perplexing, it can be a useful tool for studying distant objects. It enables researchers to see further into the future and may even be utilized to investigate the mysterious phenomenon of dark matter. The forthcoming Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will utilize a variation of this technique called microlensing to find distant exoplanets by looking at how light bends when one star passes in front of another.

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