Where Alice in Wonderland meets Albert Einstein

November 23, 2015
Credit  X-ray: NASA/CXC/UA/J.Irwin et al; Optical: NASA/STScI

One hundred years ago this month, Albert Einstein published his theory of general relativity, one of the most important scientific achievements in the last century.

A key result of Einstein's theory is that matter warps space-time, and thus a massive object can cause an observable bending of light from a background object. The first success of the theory was the observation, during a solar eclipse, that light from a distant background star was deflected by the predicted amount as it passed near the Sun.

Astronomers have since found many examples of this phenomenon, known as "gravitational lensing." More than just a cosmic illusion, gravitational lensing provides astronomers with a way of probing extremely distant galaxies and groups of galaxies in ways that would otherwise be impossible even with the most powerful telescopes.

The latest results from the "Cheshire Cat" group of galaxies show how manifestations of Einstein's 100-year-old theory can lead to new discoveries today. Astronomers have given the group this name because of the smiling cat-like appearance. Some of the feline features are actually distant galaxies whose light has been stretched and bent by the large amounts of mass, most of which is in the form of dark matter detectable only through its gravitational effect, found in the system.

More specifically, the mass that distorts the faraway galactic light is found surrounding the two giant "eye" galaxies and a "nose" galaxy. The multiple arcs of the circular "face" arise from of four different background galaxies well behind the "eye" galaxies. The individual galaxies of the system, as well as the gravitationally lensed arcs, are seen in optical light from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

Each "eye" galaxy is the brightest member of its own group of galaxies and these two groups are racing toward one another at over 300,000 miles per hour. Data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory (purple) show hot gas that has been heated to millions of degrees, which is evidence that the galaxy groups are slamming into one another. Chandra's X-ray data also reveal that the left "eye" of the Cheshire Cat group contains an actively feeding supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy.

Astronomers think the Cheshire Cat group will become what is known as a fossil group, defined as a gathering of that contains one and other much smaller, fainter ones. Fossil groups may represent a temporary stage that nearly all pass through at some point in their evolution. Therefore, astronomers are eager to better understand the properties and behavior of these groups.

The Cheshire Cat represents the first opportunity for to study a fossil group progenitor. Astronomers estimate that the two "eyes" of the cat will merge in about one billion years, leaving one very large galaxy and dozens of much smaller ones in a combined group. At that point it will have become a fossil group and a more appropriate name may be the "Cyclops" group.

A new paper on the Cheshire Cat was recently published in The Astrophysical Journal and appears online. The authors are Jimmy Irwin (University of Alabama), Renato Dupke (National Observatory of Brazil), Rodrigo Carrasco (Gemini Observatory), Peter Maksym (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), Lucas Johnson, Raymond White III (Alabama).

Explore further: Researcher's work offers more proof of Einstein's general theory of relativity

More information: "The Cheshire Cat Gravitational Lens: The Formation of a Massive Fossil Group," Jimmy Irwin (University of Alabama), Renato Dupke (National Observatory of Brazil), Rodrigo Carrasco (Gemini Observatory), Peter Maksym (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), Lucas Johnson (Alabama) & Raymond White III (Alabama), 2015 June 20, Astrophysical Journal iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0004-637X/806/2/268 , Preprint: arxiv.org/abs/1505.05501

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cantdrive85
1 / 5 (4) Nov 23, 2015
Where Alice in Wonderland meets Albert Einstein

Irony being that Albert wrote fiction and Alice is fiction.

More likely looking down the barrel of a cosmic Birkeland current.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (5) Nov 24, 2015
Albert wrote fiction
@cd
fiction would be something like the following
"Most comets should be homogeneous—their interiors will have the same composition as their surfaces. They are simply "asteroids on eccentric orbits."
Thornhill & Talbott
http://aetherforc...talbott/

or it would be something like your moon crater/grand canyon formation... shoemaker-levy9 breakup, or various other delusional eu rantings posted on PO

Einsteins GR has this cool thing called evidence from various experiments that prove the point, like:
https://en.wikipe...lativity

this is where the eu differs from ACTUAL science... you make false claims, whereas science requires evidence
http://www.auburn...ion.html

i see you've stopped pretending to know science and started back to denigration and toilet jokes
http://phys.org/n...ark.html
flag
1 / 5 (2) Nov 24, 2015
Quantum_Cheshire_Cat_effect_explained: https://www.acade...xplained
FineStructureConstant
5 / 5 (4) Nov 29, 2015
@flag - I looked at the link you provided, and scanned through the page. Sadly, it's yet another example in a very long line of such, where a person - a certain George Rajna in this case - comes to believe he is a genius who is imbued with such a high degree of omniscience that he can come up with another (yawn) Theory Of Everything.

There are lots of science words strung together in his "article" to make the whole thing sound very impressive, but not a single instance of math presented to support his claims. No surprise there, since no math known to mankind could be twisted far enough out of shape to provide a foundation for his preposterous claims.

I LOL'ed when I came across this statement in the article: "The gravitational attractive force is basically a magnetic force...". Right... and this magnificent example of self-delusion, conceit and self-importance has such a unique insight into physics that you feel it necessary to announce his Great Breakthrough to the world?
FineStructureConstant
5 / 5 (3) Nov 29, 2015
@cd -
More likely looking down the barrel of a cosmic Birkeland current.
- still trying to fit the universe into your toybox of delusional fantasies? Good luck with that...
antigoracle
not rated yet Nov 29, 2015
Irony being that Albert wrote fiction and Alice is fiction.

Hmm...someone's got fiction in the membrane. Would explain the confusion, or is that delusion.

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