Speaking of distorted galaxies, a new image from the Hubble Space Telescope was released last week that provides scientists with another spectacular example of gravitational lensing. NASA explains: Gravitational lensing occurs when light from a distant galaxy is subtly distorted by the gravitational pull of an intervening astronomical object. In this case, the relatively nearby galaxy cluster MACSJ0138.0-2155 has lensed a significantly more distant inactive galaxy – a slumbering giant known as MRG-M0138 which has run out of the gas required to form new stars and is located 10 billion light-years away.
In the image, you can see how the light arcs around the center, where it is being bent by the galaxy cluster. For fun, see if you can find several different objects that are duplicated by the lensing as well. It might be difficult to find more than a few obvious examples since so many of the galaxies are unresolved blobs, but it’s an interesting exercise. We’ll have a link to the full image on our website DailySpace.org so that you can play along.
NASA press release