A new Einstein cross is discovered

GTC discovers a new Einstein cross
The newly discovered Einstein Cross J2211-3050. An elliptical galaxy (the yellow object)  is acting as a lens, producing the four blue objects (marked ABCD) that are the images of a galaxy about 3 times more distant. With GTC it was possible to isolate and disperse the light of objects ABC, demonstrating that they belong to the same light source. Credit: Hubble Space Telescope Credit: Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias

This study, which has combined images from the Hubble Space Telescope with spectroscopic observations from the GTC, has confirmed the existence of a new example of a gravitational lens, a phenomenon predicted by Albert Einstein's theory of General Relativity. In this case, the observed effect is due to the alteration caused by a galaxy that acts like a magnifying glass amplifying and distorting, in four separate images in the form of a cross, the light of another galaxy located 20,000 million light years away.

One of the most striking conclusions of Albert Einstein's theory of is that the trajectory of light curves in the presence of matter. This effect can be observed in the case of light emitted by a distant galaxy, when its light passes close to another galaxy on its way to the observer. The phenomenon is known as gravitational lensing, because it is comparable to the deviation of light rays by the classic glass lenses. Similarly, act like magnifying glasses that change the size, shape, and intensity of the image of the distant object.

Depending on the degree of alignment of the two , multiple images of the distant source can be observed, such as four separate images in the form of a cross (hence the name "Einstein's cross"), rings, or arcs. It is in general extremely difficult to spot a gravitational lens, because the separation between the images produced by the lens is usually very small, requiring high-resolution images to see them. It was precisely analyzing Hubble Space Telescope high-resolution images that it was possible to locate an asterism that looked like a new example of Einstein cross.

An exceptional discovery

However, spotting four points of light in the shape of a cross positioned around a galaxy does not assure us that it is a lens, so we must show that the 4 images belong to the same object. To do this spectroscopic observations are needed. For this reason, a team of Italian scientists led by Daniela Bettoni of the Padova Observatory and Riccardo Scarpa of the IAC, decided to observe spectroscopically with GTC the supposed lens. According to Scarpa, "the result could not have been better. The atmosphere was very clean and with minimum turbulence (seeing), which allowed us to clearly separate the emission of three of the four images. The spectrum immediately gave us the answer we were looking for, the same emission line due to ionized hydrogen appeared in all three spectra at the same wavelength. There could be no doubt that it was actually the same source of light".

GTC discovers a new Einstein cross
Part of the GTC spectrum of sources ABC, centered on the Lyman alpha emission line. All three sources show the same line at the same wavelength, indicating the ligth is actually coming from the same object. Credit: GTC

A new Einstein cross had been discovered, named J2211-0350 according to its coordinates on the sky. The object acting as a lens turns out to be an elliptical galaxy located at a distance of approximately 7 billion (z = 0.556), while the source is at least 20 billion light years away (z = 3.03). "Normally the source is a quasar, it was with great surprise that we realized the source in this case was another galaxy, in fact a galaxy with very intense emission lines which indicates it is a young object still forming large amounts of stars", explain Bettoni. Quite an achievement for GTC, considering only another lens of this type was known.

New research tool

Thanks to these new observations, presented in The Astrophysical Journal, astronomers now have one more tool to investigate the Universe. Gravitational lenses are important because they allow the study of the Universe in a unique way. Because the light of the different images, initially the same light, follows different paths in the Universe, thus any spectral differences must be due to the material that is between us and the source. Moreover, if the source is variable, we can see a time delay (one image illuminates before the others), which provides valuable information about the shape of the Universe.

Of course, the mass of the lens responsible for bending the light can be accurately derived, providing an important independent method to weight . Finally, as with a normal glass lens, the gravitational lens concentrates toward us the from the source, making it possible to see intrinsically unreachable objects. In this case it could be calculated that the source is 5 times brighter than it would be without the .


Explore further

Most distant gravitational lens helps weigh galaxies

More information: Daniela Bettoni et al. A New Einstein Cross Gravitational Lens of a Lyman-break Galaxy, The Astrophysical Journal Letters (2019). DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/ab0aeb
Journal information: Astrophysical Journal

Citation: A new Einstein cross is discovered (2019, March 18) retrieved 23 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-03-einstein.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
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Mar 18, 2019
I'm pretty sure we can't see anything that's 20,000 million light years away.

Mar 18, 2019
No Einstein cross as described but highly more likely a family of objects being ejected by the central feature as described by Halton Arp.

Mar 18, 2019
I'm pretty sure we can't see anything that's 20,000 million light years away.

Why not.

If you're "pretty sure" then you must have done the math. So let's see it. Or is "pretty sure" just your euphemism for "I'm dumb and lazy and just want to voice a gut feeling"?

Mar 18, 2019
No Einstein cross as described but highly more likely a family of objects being ejected by the central feature as described by Halton Arp.


Arp was wrong. The cross showed him to be talking crap.

Mar 18, 2019
GN-z11 is currently the oldest and most distant known galaxy in the observable universe. GN-z11 has a spectroscopic redshift of z = 11.09, which corresponds to a proper distance of approximately 32 billion light-years (9.8 billion parsecs)


https://en.wikipe...i/GN-z11

As to how we can see objects more than 13.82 billion light years away in a universe only 13.82 billion years old, you have to consider the expansion of the universe.

https://en.wikipe...universe



Mar 18, 2019
Isn't the center image supposed to be dimmer than the other four in an Einstein Cross?

I haven't found ECross images in which center image has strikingly different color than the surrounding ones. I need to explore more I guess.

Mar 19, 2019
Isn't the center image supposed to be dimmer than the other four in an Einstein Cross?

I haven't found ECross images in which center image has strikingly different color than the surrounding ones. I need to explore more I guess.


The central object is the foreground galaxy doing the lensing, the four blue objects are the background lensed galaxy. In some ring configurations you do get a faint central image of the source but not in Einstein crosses (as far as I'm aware).

Mar 19, 2019
I think you have to be right, @IMP, since the (now both of the) Einstein crosses I'm aware of have a galaxy right in the middle that would preclude seeing the much dimmer one behind it.

Mar 20, 2019
Thank heaven for little Einstein cross's

A 20Billion Ly Galaxy Discovered
< A new Einstein cross had been discovered,J2211-0350 an elliptical galaxy located at a distance of approximately 7 billion light years (z = 0.556)
The source is at least 20 billion light years away (z = 3.03).
Normally the source is a quasar
the source in this case is another galaxy, in fact a galaxy with very intense emission lines which indicates it is a young object still forming large amounts of stars >

Apparently
this galaxy
where at 20billion Lys
is
A young galaxy, at distance which enables galaxies to form large amounts of stars
This young galaxy is curious
in that
unless everyone is mistaken
the furthest galaxy to date is 13billion Lys

Thank heaven for little Einstein cross's


Mar 21, 2019
Well, I don't know about you.
But I for one, intend to start using the term "Einstein's Cross as often as possible!
Knowing how much it will infuriate the bigots & other bad examples of primitive sanguinary religious beliefs.

Gonna be up there with Black Holes & Dark Matter/Energy in triggering the looneyticks infantile racist tantrums.

I'd say the best part is? That Humanity is slowly civilizing to the point where we didn't have to nail the Good Doctor to that cross as happened to Doctor King.

Ahh, uhhm, wait?

Yeah, I'm going to have to reconsider how civilized we actually are?

Mar 24, 2019
We've all seen optical lenses that magnify or reduce the apparent size of an object, but I don't believe I've ever seen a single lens that splits an object into four distinct images. How and why would a gravitational lens do that?

Mar 25, 2019
Lol, any optical phenomena is attributed to the demi god of science, Einstein.
But lots of scientists salaries depend on agreeing with Einstein, come what may, even tho ive proved Einstein wrong in all my 5 papers

Mar 25, 2019
@savvys84,

Lol, any optical phenomena is attributed to the demi god of science, Einstein.
But lots of scientists salaries depend on agreeing with Einstein, come what may, even tho ive proved Einstein wrong in all my 5 papers


I'm so glad we have people around who are so much smarter and more intelligent than the rest of the scientific community, combined.

Truth to tell, I'd bet my house you're suffering from the Galileo Fallacy.

Physics has nothing to do with salaries; it has everything to do with measurements, mathematics, and the scientific method.

Mar 25, 2019
Lol, any optical phenomena is attributed to the demi god of science, Einstein.
But lots of scientists salaries depend on agreeing with Einstein, come what may, even tho ive proved Einstein wrong in all my 5 papers
says savvys84

Their salaries also depend on "peer-review" from colleagues who have their own careers to consider and their own papers to write. Science is a "dog-eat-dog existence where any variations from the tried and true old science may be met with scepticism, scorn, if not downright hostility. One going into a scientific field had best be economically independent, if at all possible. Or have wealthy parents. Otherwise, one may have to depend on the charitable kindness of kindred spirits or a soup kitchen. :)
Good luck with your endeavours in science, savvys

Mar 25, 2019
We've all seen optical lenses that magnify or reduce the apparent size of an object, but I don't believe I've ever seen a single lens that splits an object into four distinct images. How and why would a gravitational lens do that?
Because no one will pay for it.


Mar 26, 2019
@oberviscist

ok then prove me wrong
https://www.scrib...savvys84

Mar 26, 2019
@sneelock

Shhh!!
You are not paying attention. this is the Einstein lens

Mar 26, 2019
@suveillence

Lol nice one. Tho my salary does not depend on agreeing with Einstein, tho lots of untoward things have been happenning over the years

Mar 26, 2019
Savvy has accomplished what nobody else has ever managed to do in the history of science.

He has used an experimental setup consisting of a "standard flooring tile" (you know, the type you can only get at great expense from scientific equipment suppliers) at two positions separated vertically by 35 feet, and measured the red, green and blue components of the sunlight reflected by the tile, using a smartphone app.

He shows conclusively that the higher position of floor tile reflects light which has significantly lower RGB values than the lower position. Hence
the Sunlight Spectra is Blue Shifted at the Higher Location, as compared to the Spectra at the Lower Location, Which proves that Time is Dilated at the Higher Location, where the Gravity is lower, as compared to the Lower Location.
Who would not be convinced by this paradigm-shifting conclusion???

I'm rushing to sell my shares in Einstein Inc. as soon as the stock exchange opens, and I'd advise you to do the same!

Mar 26, 2019
@savvy - I've inspected your findings in your seminal paper "Anti Gravity From Vrillectric" - https://www.scrib...llectric - which you very modestly claim to be
The greatest invention in the history of mankind
which negates gravity, and note a slight anomaly in your graph.

I'm not sure whether it's an oversight, or whether there is new science just waiting to be discovered, hidden in "plain sight", but I note that the upper of the two lines in your graph is definitely REDDER than the lower, which is BLUER! - this is in stark contrast to the conclusions you draw in your experimental setup as I have described them above, and in which you have proved that the higher an object in the gravitational field, the more blue-shifted it is.

This is a quandary which I suspect only you can resolve. I'm wondering whether this has anything to do with the fact that the graph
can be said to actually depict 6 Spatial and 2 Time dimensions
?

Mar 26, 2019
People - check out @savvy's Youtube video where his Vrillectric Antigravity Machine "The Ark" is presented actually working in real time - https://www.youtu...g68VE-Ys - "ENGINEERING THE SPACE TIME METRIC - VIMANA". Especially keep your eyes on the clock-gauge and the candles, which show clear evidence of the machine rising, and also of time-dilation.

Garfield and Kitty are also featured as independent observers.

Great work, Sir! - I look forward to travelling in comfort to Mars and beyond in a Vrillectric Ark-powered spacecraft!!!

Mar 26, 2019
We've all seen optical lenses that magnify or reduce the apparent size of an object, but I don't believe I've ever seen a single lens that splits an object into four distinct images.

Because lenses that you usually encounter in optical setups bend light more the further away from the center it passes through the lens.
Gravity, on the other hand, bends light more the *closer* it passes to the center of the mass that is bending it.
This means an optical lens has a focal point whereas a (radially symmetric) gravity lens has a focal line.

Apparently you can get the effect with an optical axicon lens.
https://en.wikipe...i/Axicon
With a nonuniform axicon lens you could also potentially create an Einstein cross-like image optically.


Mar 26, 2019
Thanks for that answer AP. I had the same question.

Mar 27, 2019
@skylight
Perform the expt yourself
Lol good one on the graph
Yes you are invited to the trip to mars
and yes sell your stocks. pronto

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