This extraordinary NASA / ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of the galaxy cluster Abell 2813 (also known as ACO 2813) has an almost delicate beauty, which also illustrates the remarkable physics at work within it. The image spectacularly demonstrates the concept of gravitational lensing.
Among the small dots, spirals and ovals that are the galaxies that belong to the cluster, there are several different crescent shapes. These curved arcs of light are not curved galaxies. They are good examples of a phenomenon known as gravitational lensing.
Gravitational lensing occurs when the mass of an object causes light to bend. The curved crescents and “S” shapes are light from galaxies beyond Abell 2813. The galaxy cluster is so massive that it acts like a gravitational lens, bending the light from the more distant galaxies around it. . These distortions can appear in many different forms, such as long lines or arcs.
This visual evidence, that mass causes light to bend, is used as proof of Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
The image is a compilation of observations taken with the Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field Camera 3.
Image: Hubble sees a ‘molten ring’
Provided by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
Citation: Hubble watches cosmic light bend (2021, April 18) retrieved April 18, 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-04-hubble-cosmic.html
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