Close

After long inactivity, the Hubble Space Telescope discovered an image of an "Einstein Ring."

Einstein's Ring, according to NBC News, is billions of light-years away. It was named after Albert Einstein, a prominent twentieth-century scientist. His ideas included predicting that gravity may bend even light if it is strong enough.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has published a picture that shows a spherical object in the middle. While the photograph appears to depict light forming a ring, the tale behind it is much more intriguing. Below is the image courtesy of NASA:

Hubble Sees a Smiling Lens
(Photo: NASA/ESA)
In the center of this image, taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, is the galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849 — and it seems to be smiling. This phenomenon, crucial to many of Hubble’s discoveries, can be explained by Einstein’s theory of general relativity. In this special case of gravitational lensing, a ring — known as an Einstein Ring — is produced from this bending of light, a consequence of the exact and symmetrical alignment of the source, lens, and observer and resulting in the ring-like structure we see here.

What you see in the image are three galaxies that appear to be seven, with four distinct photographs of the most distant of these galaxies creating a ring around the other galaxies. The universe that is the furthest distance from the rest is a mind-boggling 15 billion light-years away. It's also a unique galaxy since it contains a massive black hole at the core, known as a quasar.

Because their light passes through powerful gravitational forces, forcing them to bend, ScienceAlert said the three galaxies seem to be seven. Because telescopes in Einstein's day were not strong enough, Hubble was one of the first telescopes to see any evidence of this phenomenon.

ALSO READ: NASA's Hubble Space Telescope Releases New Images of Mysterious Celestial Object in a Spiral Galaxy


In 1979, scientists at Arizona's Kitt Peak Observatory discovered an Einstein Ring when they recognized the quasar in the picture as Twin Quasar QSO 0957+561. They knew it was a single quasar, although it appeared to be two because the light that creates its picture passes through an enormous gravitational field from another galaxy nearby.

Hubble's Latest Discovery Is More Stunning Than You Thought!

The background is far more widespread than most people realize. It all begins and ends with the quasar's distance, which causes the Einstein Ring to develop.

It's challenging to comprehend a distance of 15 billion light-years. However, scientists estimate the universe's age to be 14 billion years, so we're missing out by one billion years. So, why does this Einstein Ring-causing quasar appear to be "older" than the universe as a whole, and how did Hubble even catch its image?

Hubble is unable to capture an image if it does not emit light. But Live Science explained that the light from the furthest galaxy is bent by the gravitational attraction of the two galaxies in front of it. This, on the other hand, can only be discovered by examining numerical data from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Scientists can now look further back in time than ever before, thanks to a new finding from the renowned Hubble Space Telescope. This might disclose a number of previously unknown truths about the universe's origins, one of which, if proven, would have far-reaching implications for science.

RELATED ARTICLE: NASA's Hubble Space Telescope Detects Stunning Image of Spiral Galaxy

Check out more news and information on Space in Science Times.