James Webb caught Einstein’s nearly perfect ring 12 billion light-years away – Teach Me About Science
It’s been just over 6 weeks since the official opening of the world’s largest telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Since scientific observations began on July 12, it has not ceased to flood the front pages of newspapers with discoveries and pictures that take our breath away. Now, he surprises us once again by capturing one of the most elegant phenomena in the universe known as the Einstein ring.
This phenomenon is called gravitational lensing and was predicted by Albert Einstein nearly a century ago. Perhaps the most exciting manifestation of the phenomenon of gravitational lensing, Einstein’s rings occur when two galaxies are almost perfectly parallel, one behind the other.
Gravitational lensing occurs when the gravitational field of a massive object causes space to bend and light from a distant object behind it is bent, allowing the distant object to be seen.
This time around, JWST captured Einstein’s nearly perfect ring 12 billion light-years away, and the sight is a feast for the eyes. The image shows a distant galaxy that has been completely distorted by another foreground galaxy. Since they are aligned, the background galaxy amplifies its brightness and encases the nearest galaxy in a kind of nearly perfect ring.
Credit for the color photo goes to an astronomy graduate student, who under the name Spaceguy44 shared this like on Reddit. “This is a color image by JWST’s MIRI detector of the SPT-S gravitational lensing galaxy J041839-4751.8,” Type.
The data was captured by Webb’s MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument). Spaceguy44 downloaded data from a file mast gate To align them and color them later with Astropy and finally further processing with GIMP.
The filters used are: Red = F1000W, which captures wavelengths of light at 10 µm. Green = F770W. for wavelengths of 7.7 μm; Blue = F560W, which captures wavelengths of 5.6 μm.
The galaxy called SPT-S J041839-4751.8 is very far from home, about 12 billion light-years away. It’s so far away that if it weren’t for the lens flare, you wouldn’t be able to see it.
“This is a distant galaxy that has been completely distorted into a complete ring by a massive foreground galaxy. This occurs when the background galaxy, the foreground galaxy, and the observer line up perfectly. This means that J0418 is located directly behind the foreground galaxy.” Graduate student explained. “We wouldn’t be able to see J0418 without the gravitational bending properties of light. Without the lens, the galaxy would likely look like distant galaxies: a tiny speck of light.”
If you want to experience the effect yourself at home, Spaceguy44 says it turns out that the stem and base of a wine glass have roughly the same optical properties as a massive gravitational lens. You can try a page out of a book and try to see the text enlarged.
This is not the first time this phenomenon has been captured, although this image is still stunning, the Hubble Space Telescope also has its collection of Einstein rings and you can see them by clicking over here.
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