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Illustration of gravitational lensing

Illustration of gravitational lensing

R932/0038

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Credit

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

Caption

Gravitational lensing. Artwork showing how an orbiting 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 is seen by the telescope (illustrated here by the Hubble space telescope) 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 his general theory of relativity. Many examples of the phenomenon are known. Light from a distant object can be lensed into various shapes and forms, such as arcs, rings, and multiple images.

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