Antonio Manaytay – Fourth Estate Contributor
Manoa, HI, United States (4E) – An international team of astronomers discovered an extremely distant galaxy, too distant and faint to be seen by largest telescopes, by the natural method: gravitational lensing.
The team, led by Herald Ebeling of the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, using the Hubble Space Telescope in surveying the sky for a sample of massive clusters of galaxies had discovered a distant galaxy, named as eMACSJ1341-QG-1.
The newly discovered galaxy was magnified 30 times due to space-time distortion, predicted by Albert Einstein more than a century ago, caused by monster galaxy cluster eMACSJ1341.9-2441.
Gravitational lensing’s effect, first confirmed during the 1919 solar eclipse, can significantly magnify images of distant and faint images of cosmic sources once a massive celestial object lies in between the observer and the source.
Clusters of galaxies, the presence of a large amount of dark matter, and hot gas surrounding hundred of individual galaxies bound by gravity are powerful gravitational lenses useful for astronomers.
“By magnifying the galaxies situated behind them, massive clusters act as natural telescopes that allow scientists to study faint and distant sources that would otherwise be beyond the reach of even the most powerful human-made telescopes,” team member Johan Richard of the University of Lyon, who performed the calculations, said.
“The very high magnification of this image provides us with a rare opportunity to investigate the stellar populations of this distant and, ultimately, to reconstruct its distorted shape and properties,” Richard added.
Similar extreme cases of magnifications had been conducted before but it is the first time performed on a rare “quiescent” background galaxy. This type of galaxy, unlike the Milky Way, does not create new stars in monster clouds of cool gas.
“This discovery stands out, though, as the huge magnification provided by eMACSJ1341 allows us to study in detail a very rare type of galaxy,” study leader Ebeling explained,
Article – All Rights Reserved.
Provided by FeedSyndicate