Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Einstein Ring in Distant Universe


Astronomers Using the VLT Discover Bright Cosmic Mirage Far Away

Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope, Rémi Cabanac and his European colleagues have discovered an amazing cosmic mirage, known to scientists as an Einstein Ring. This cosmic mirage, dubbed FOR J0332-3557, is seen towards the southern constellation Fornax (the Furnace), and is remarkable on at least two counts. First, it is a bright, almost complete Einstein ring. Second, it is the farthest ever found.

"There are only a very few optical rings or arcs known, and even less so in which the lens and the source are at large distance, i.e. more than about 7,000 million light-years away (or half the present age of the Universe)", says Rémi Cabanac, former ESO Fellow and now working at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. "Moreover, very few are nearly complete", he adds.

But in the case of this newly found cosmic ring, the images show it to extend to almost 3/4 of a circle. The lensing galaxy is located at a distance of about 8,000 million light-years from us, while the source galaxy whose light is distorted, is much farther away, at 12,000 million light-years. Thus, we see this galaxy as it was when the universe was only 12% of its present age. The lens magnifies the source almost 13 times.

The observations reveal the galaxy acting as a lens to be a rather quiet galaxy, 40,000 light-years wide, with an old stellar population. The far away lensed galaxy, however, is extremely active, having recently experienced bursts of star formation. It is a compact galaxy, 7,000 light-years across.

"Because the gravitational pull of matter bends the path of light rays, astronomical objects - stars, galaxies and galaxy clusters - can act like lenses, which magnify and severely distort the images of galaxies behind them, producing weird pictures as in a hall of mirrors", explains Chris Lidman (ESO), co-discover of the new cosmic mirage.

In the most extreme case, where the foreground lensing galaxy and the background galaxy are perfectly lined up, the image of the background galaxy is stretched into a ring. Such an image is known as an Einstein ring, because the formula for the bending of light, first described in the early twentieth century by Chwolson and Link, uses Albert Einstein’s theory of General Relativity.

Gravitational lensing provides a very useful tool with which to study the Universe. As "weighing scales", it provides a measure of the mass within the lensing body, and as a "magnifying glass", it allows us to see details in objects which would otherwise be beyond the reach of current telescopes.

From the image, co-worker David Valls-Gabaud (CFHT), using state-of-the-art modelling algorithms, could deduce the mass of the galaxy acting as a lens - it is almost one million million suns.

Henri Boffin | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht First results of NSTX-U research operations
26.10.2016 | DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

nachricht Scientists discover particles similar to Majorana fermions
25.10.2016 | Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>