Modern telescopes are more powerful than their more ancient "relatives". However, they still face constraints, since they cannot study objects that are billions of years distant. But the Universe comes to the rescue by providing gravitational lenses.
What is it?
The very phenomenon of a gravitational lens was presented to the world by the great scientist Albert Einstein. More specifically, it flowed from his general theory of relativity. In fact, it is the influence of massive matter on the light. Under the influence of gravity of large objects, the trajectory of the light beam is bent.
Any massive object, like a star, a galaxy, a galactic cluster, a thickening of dark matter, or even a planet can act as a gravitational lens. The scheme of action is simple. Between the Earth and the distant object of interest is a gravitational lens. Rays of light pass through it and are bent under the action of a strong gravitational field. Due to this, the object behind it enhances the brightness and becomes more visible to us.
A color image of the gravitational lens “Einstein's Cross”, obtained with the Hubble telescope (“Advanced camera for shooting” and “Wide field 3” tools) by NASA and ESA within the framework of the Relics project. The object is called J2211-0350 and is located in a cluster of galaxies Rxc J2211.7-0350. Such lenses have become a real gift for scientists who are trying to peer deeper into the expanses of the universe. These objects are hard to find. But even less often it turns out to find the cross of Einstein. What is it? The degree of alignment of distorted images lined up in a certain shape. It can be an arc, a ring or a cross. Since the “father” of the gravitational lens is called Einstein, his name served as a prefix to the name.
Einstein's First Cross
The very first example of the Einstein's cross was found on the territory of the constellation Pegasus. You yourself can observe it if you get a chance to use a powerful telescope. The object was named Q2237 + 030. This is the image of a quasar, obtained by the method of gravitational lensing. He is 8 billion light-years away!
This is far away, but we managed to see its light at the expense of the ZW 2237 + 030 galaxy living between us and the quasar, only 400 million light years distant (two dozen times closer). In any picture, you will notice the shape of a cross, where four bright objects are displayed with photographs of a quasar, and in the center is a lensing galaxy.
It is important to understand that such photos can be obtained only with the help of powerful equipment. Therefore, scientists can not do without the capabilities of the Hubble Space Telescope.
Recently, a good event occurred in outer space - two galaxies leveled out in relation to terrestrial observers. Thus, the Hubble team managed to fix the second case of the formation of the Einstein cross.
Of course, the presence of four points around the galaxy in the picture is not yet an exact proof of the presence of the Einstein cross. Therefore, to confirm the use of the Big Canary Telescope.
The find is designated as J2211-0350. The analysis shows that between us and the light source there is a large elliptical galaxy living at a distance of 7 billion light years! There is still little information about the nature of the source itself, but the first data indicate its distance of 20 billion light years (the distance will still be clarified).
Usually distant quasars become “enlarged” objects. But all indications are that the elliptical galaxy lensed another young galaxy with an active process of stellar birth. Researchers will continue to examine Einstein's second cross to provide more information.