December 23, 2012
Day 23 of the 2012 Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar, one of 25 photos (eventually).  Thanks to the presence of a natural “zoom lens” in space, this is a close-up look at one of the brightest distant “magnified” galaxies in the universe known to date. It is one of the most striking examples of gravitational lensing, where the gravitational field of a foreground galaxy bends and amplifies the light of a more distant background galaxy. In this image the light from a distant galaxy, nearly 10 billion light-years away, has been warped into a nearly 90-degree arc of light in the galaxy cluster RCS2 032727-132623. The galaxy cluster lies 5 billion light-years away. The background galaxy’s image is not only stretched by the lensing, but split into multiple apparent images, across the upper left and at lower right. (NASA, ESA, J. Rigby, and K. Sharon, M. Gladders, and E. Wuyts, University of Chicago)

Day 23 of the 2012 Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar, one of 25 photos (eventually). Thanks to the presence of a natural “zoom lens” in space, this is a close-up look at one of the brightest distant “magnified” galaxies in the universe known to date. It is one of the most striking examples of gravitational lensing, where the gravitational field of a foreground galaxy bends and amplifies the light of a more distant background galaxy. In this image the light from a distant galaxy, nearly 10 billion light-years away, has been warped into a nearly 90-degree arc of light in the galaxy cluster RCS2 032727-132623. The galaxy cluster lies 5 billion light-years away. The background galaxy’s image is not only stretched by the lensing, but split into multiple apparent images, across the upper left and at lower right. (NASA, ESA, J. Rigby, and K. Sharon, M. Gladders, and E. Wuyts, University of Chicago)

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