JON LOMBERG / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JON LOMBERG / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Gravitational lens. Artwork of a black hole (centre) distorting the view of a galaxy behind it in space. This is known as gravitational lensing. It occurs when light from a distant object is bent around a massive object in the same line of sight by the black hole's gravitational field. The galaxy appears as two images because the black hole is slightly offset from the line of sight. If the black hole were exactly aligned with the galaxy, a ring of light would be seen. The idea that light could be bent by gravity was put forward by Albert Einstein in his general theory of relativity (1915). Several examples of gravit- ational lenses have been found in recent years.
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