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Gravitational lensing

Gravitational lensing

R932/0037

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Credit

JULIAN BAUM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JULIAN BAUM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Gravitational lensing. Artwork showing how a telescope can see two distorted images of a distant quasar (top right), due to the quasar's light being bent by an intervening galaxy. The white lines represent light from the quasar, which the telescope sees as twin arcs on either side of a normal image of the intervening galaxy. The bending of light by a massive object such as a galaxy was predicted by Einstein in 1916 in his general theory of relativity. Many examples of the phenomenon are now known. Light from a distant object can be lensed into a variety of shapes and forms, including arcs, multiple images, or an "Einstein ring".

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