In astronomy, the Einstein ring is a special case of a gravitational mirage. It was Albert Einstein, in his theory of general relativity, who proposed the existence of this cosmic phenomenon. This is why they are called Einstein rings.
The ring in question, aptly named GAL-CLUS-022058-38303, shows the distorted appearance of a distant galaxy exposed to a gravitational lens. The image was released in December 2020 from Hubble observations.
By analyzing data collected by Hubble and the Very Large Telescope (TGT) of the European Southern Observatory, a team of astronomers led by Anastasio Diaz of the Polytechnic University of Cartagena was able to study the ring in detail.
molten ring, nicknamed because of its appearance, is the largest and most complete of all.
In order to determine the physical properties of the galaxy exposed to the lens, it is necessary to use a model. In this case, this lens model can only be obtained by Hubble imaging., explains in a press release Anastasio Diaz Sanchez, whose work has been published inAstrophysical Journal (A new window) (in English).
The idea of greatness
From this lens model, the scientists calculated the amplification factor, a valuable effect of the gravitational lens, which allows astronomers to study the intrinsic physical properties of this galaxy.
So the researchers estimated that the light from the galaxy had traveled about 9.4 billion light-years before Hubble picked it up in December 2020.
In addition, they found that the galaxy is magnified by a factor of 20, which is equivalent to observing it with a 48-meter space telescope, larger than today’s very large telescopes.
The discovery of molecular gas, where stars are born, confirmed that it was indeed a very distant galaxysays Nicholas Sulzinor, a doctoral student at the Max Planck Institute.
Our work also establishes that it is a galaxy with a normal star formation, one of the main sequence galaxies, at the time of maximum star formation in the universe.
At that time, the universe was in the first third of its existence, and its size was less than half its size today.
We can clearly see the spiral arms and central bulb of the galaxy in the Hubble images.Her colleague Susanna Iglesias-Groth, also of the Canary Islands Institute of Astrophysics, notes.
Our work will help us better understand star formation in distant galaxies, she adds.
Our universe contains at least 2,000 billion galaxies, and there are billions of stars surrounded by billions of planets in these galaxies.
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