April 7 (UPI) — A new image from Hubble showcases dozens of distant galaxies, as well as an astronomical phenomenon known as an Einstein ring.
The lens-like circle at the image’s center represents the distortion caused by the gravity of a galaxy cluster named SDSS J0146-0929. The cluster is composed of millions of galaxies, all tied together by the pull of gravity.
The gravity of the cluster’s millions of galaxies is strong enough to warp the surrounding space-time.
As distant light travels toward Earth, it bends around the massive cluster, creating the lens-like phenomenon.
“In this image, the light from a background galaxy is diverted and distorted around the massive intervening cluster and forced to travel along many different light paths toward Earth, making it seem as though the galaxy is in several places at once,” according to NASA.
Gravitational lensing can sometimes help magnify faraway objects, allowing scientists to get an up-close look at stars and galaxies in the distant universe.
Scattered around the Einstein ring are a plethora of elliptical galaxies and spectacular spirals. Some appear edge-on, appearing like a thin sliver, while others are positioned face-on, revealing the full width of their spiraling arms.