Since the semester is starting up again, I’ll be posting a few astronomy things (and a few ethics things) every once in a while. If you’re not interested, skip on by.
A (rather forwardly excited student) earlier mistook a photo of a Supernova interacting with surrounding debris for gravitational lensing.
A gravitational lens refers to a distribution of matter (such as a cluster of galaxies) between a distant source (a background galaxy) and an observer, that is capable of bending (lensing) the light from the source, as it travels towards the observer. This effect is known as gravitational lensing, simulated above, and is one of the predictions of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity.
Spacetime around a massive object (such as a galaxy cluster or a black hole) is curved, and as a result light rays from a background source (such as a galaxy) propagating through spacetime are bent. The lensing effect can magnify and distort the image of the background source.
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