Gravitational lenses in part of the Herschel-ATLAS survey field.
Image credit: ESA / SPIRE / Herschel-ATLAS / SJ Maddox
Astronomers using early data from one of the largest projects to be undertaken with the ESA Herschel Space Observatory have demonstrated that virtually all bright sub-millimetre galaxies in the distant Universe are subject to gravitational lensing, which amplifies their flux thus easing their detection and characterisation. Analysis of less than three per cent of the entire Herschel-ATLAS survey, which probes the distant and hidden Universe, yielded a first sample of five lensed galaxies and paves the way for the compilation, in the near future, of a rich catalogue of distant, star-forming and dust-obscured galaxies. The results are reported in the 5 November 2010 issue of Science. (Read more)