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Gravitational lensing of the distant SPT0418-47 galaxy (schematic)

13 November, 2020 / Read time: 1 minute

This schematic animation shows how light from a distant galaxy is distorted by the gravitational effects of a foreground galaxy, which acts like a lens and makes the distant source appear distorted, but magnified, forming characteristic rings of light, known as Einstein rings. This effect has allowed astronomers to see the distant galaxy SPT0418-47 (which appears as a golden ring in the ALMA images) in finer detail than would have been possible otherwise.
The foreground galaxy is not visible in the ALMA images of SPT0418-47 because it is too faint at the wavelengths used. The blue colour used in this schematic to represent this foreground galaxy is artificial.
Credit:ALMA (NRAO/ESO/NAOJ)/Luis Calçada (ESO)

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