Hubble Captures a Stunning 'Einstein Ring' Magnifying The Depths of The Universe


Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2019
Gravity is the weird, mysterious glue that binds the Universe together, but that's not the limit of its charms. We can also leverage the way it warps space-time to see distant objects that would be otherwise much more difficult to make out.

This is called gravitational lensing, an effect predicted by Einstein, and it's beautifully illustrated in a new release from the Hubble Space Telescope.

In the center in the image (below) is a shiny, near-perfect ring with what appear to be four bright spots threaded along it, looping around two more points with a golden glow.


This is called an Einstein ring, and those bright dots are not six galaxies, but three: the two in the middle of the ring, and one quasar behind it, its light distorted and magnified as it passes through the gravitational field of the two foreground galaxies.

Because the mass of the two foreground galaxies is so high, this causes a gravitational curvature of space-time around the pair. Any light that then travels through this space-time follows this curvature and enters our telescopes smeared and distorted – but also magnified.