Hubble Uses A Magnifying Lens To Peer Into The Past.

Using gravitational lensing, Hubble has peered farther back in time than ever before.

Gravitational lensing occurs when the light from a distant object is bent, by gravity, around a large cosmic structure.

The mammoth galaxy cluster Abell 2744 is so massive that its powerful gravity bends the light from galaxies far behind it, making these otherwise unseen background objects appear larger and brighter than they would normally.

Image Credit: NASA, J. Lotz, (STScI)

Because the light was bent by the gigantic galaxy cluster Abell 2744, or Pandora’s Cluster, three images of the distant galaxy where actually captured in the image above.  The gravitational lens magnifies the image over 10 times what would normally be captured by Hubble’s imaging sensors.

Spectrographic analysis shows that the galaxy is only 850 light-years across, about 500 times smaller than the Milky Way galaxy’s 100,000 light year size.  Researchers also estimate that it only has a mass of 40 million suns, compared to the 100,000,000,000 we have in our galaxy.  The galaxy is so far back that it formed about 500 million years after the big bang.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +, or by email.


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