Oct 13

Most distant gravitational lens helps weigh galaxies

Source: ESA/Hubble

The most distant gravitational lens yet discovered
Image credits: NASA/ESA/A. van der Wel

An international team of astronomers has found the most distant gravitational lens yet — a galaxy that, as predicted by Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, deflects and intensifies the light of an even more distant object. The discovery provides a rare opportunity to directly measure the mass of a distant galaxy. But it also poses a mystery: lenses of this kind should be exceedingly rare. Given this and other recent finds, astronomers either have been phenomenally lucky — or, more likely, they have underestimated substantially the number of small, very young galaxies in the early Universe. (read more)

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