Image: Hubble's warped view of the universe

September 28, 2018, NASA
Credit: ESA (European Space Agency)/Hubble & NASA; acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image contains a veritable mix of different galaxies, some of which belong to the same larger structure: At the middle of the frame sits the galaxy cluster SDSS J1050+0017.

The gigantic mass of this cluster creates the fascinating phenomenon of strong gravitational lensing. The gravity of the cluster bends light coming from behind it in a similar way to how the base of a wine glass bends light. The effects of this lensing can be clearly seen as curved streaks forming a circular shape around the center of the frame. Astronomers can use these distorted galaxies to calculate the mass of the cluster—including the mass of the dark matter within it—and to peer deeper into the universe than otherwise possible. Gravitational lensing not only distorts the views of galaxies, it also enlarges their appearance in the sky and magnifies their light.

Hubble has viewed many times and produced truly stunning images. Astronomers even set up a dedicated program called Frontier Fields to study different galaxy clusters that show a great number of lensed galaxies. Some of the most distant galaxies in the universe were found this way. With each additional cluster observed, more distant galaxies are added to this list, slowly completing our picture of how looked and evolved in the early .

Explore further: BUFFALO charges towards the earliest galaxies

Related Stories

BUFFALO charges towards the earliest galaxies

September 13, 2018

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has started a new mission to shed light on the evolution of the earliest galaxies in the Universe. The BUFFALO survey will observe six massive galaxy clusters and their surroundings. The ...

Image: Hubble's treasure chest of galaxies

August 21, 2018

Galaxies abound in this spectacular Hubble image; spiral arms swirl in all colors and orientations, and fuzzy ellipticals can be seen speckled across the frame as softly glowing smudges on the sky. Each visible speck of a ...

Hubble's dazzling display of galaxies

July 9, 2018

This busy image is a treasure trove of wonders. Bright stars from the Milky Way sparkle in the foreground, the magnificent swirls of several spiral galaxies are visible across the frame, and a glowing assortment of objects ...

Hubble spots a green cosmic arc

June 4, 2018

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows a cluster of hundreds of galaxies located about 7.5 billion light-years from Earth. The brightest galaxy within this cluster, named SDSS J1156+1911, is visible in the lower ...

A lot of galaxies need guarding in this NASA Hubble view

May 4, 2017

Much like the eclectic group of space rebels in the upcoming film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has some amazing superpowers, specifically when it comes to observing innumerable galaxies flung ...

Recommended for you

Scientist explores a better way to predict space weather

October 22, 2018

Findings recently published by a Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) space scientist shed new light on predicting the thermodynamics of solar flares and other "space weather" events involving hot, fast-moving plasmas.

'Oumuamua one year later

October 22, 2018

One year ago this week astronomers discovered an unusual object moving through space not too far from the Earth's orbit. In just a few days they realized it could not be a normal asteroid or comet – its path showed that ...

Gravitational waves could shed light on dark matter

October 22, 2018

The forthcoming Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) will be a huge instrument allowing astronomers to study phenomena including black holes colliding and gravitational waves moving through space-time. Researchers from ...

Astronomers propose a new method for detecting black holes

October 22, 2018

A stellar mass black hole is a compact object with a mass greater than three solar masses. It is so dense and has such a powerful force of attraction that not even light can escape from it. They cannot be observed directly, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.