The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured the first-ever picture of a distant quasar lensed into five images. In addition the image holds a treasure of lensed galaxies and even a supernova.
The most unique feature in this new image taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is a group of five quasar images produced by a process called ‘gravitational lensing’. By this process the gravitational field of an extremely massive body - in this case, a cluster of galaxies - warps the surrounding space. The light emitted from an object - in this case, a quasar – travels amplified and bended, and multiple images of the light source may be seen, each taking a different path through the warped space.
Although other multiply lensed quasars have been seen before, this is the only case so far in which multiple quasar images are produced by an entire galaxy cluster acting as a gravitational lens.
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