Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Astronomers Find First Complete Galactic Gravitational Lens, Predicted By Relativity Theory

Date:
April 2, 1998
Source:
University Of Manchester
Summary:
A team of British astronomers using the UK's MERLIN radio array and the Hubble Space Telescope have found an ``Einstein Ring'' - a gravitational effect predicted by Albert Einstein over 60 years ago as a consequence of his General Theory of Relativity. The Hubble picture is a beautiful demonstration of Einstein's ideas since, for the first time, it shows a complete ring surrounding the galaxy that created it.

Related Articles


A team of British astronomers using the UK's MERLIN radio array and the Hubble Space Telescope have found an ``Einstein Ring'' - a gravitational effect predicted by Albert Einstein over 60 years ago as a consequence of his General Theory of Relativity. The Hubble picture is a beautiful demonstration of Einstein's ideas since, for the first time, it shows a complete ring surrounding the galaxy that created it.

The effect is a cosmic mirage caused by the gravity of a massive galaxy bending the light from an object behind it and acting as a ``gravitational lens''. On the rare occasions when the distant object, the lens galaxy and the telescope are exactly aligned an ``Einstein ring'' is created.

Dr. Ian Browne of the University of Manchester admits ``At first sight it looks artificial and we thought it was some sort of defect in the image but then we realised we were actually looking at a perfect Einstein ring!''.

Commenting later on the pictures Bristol University astronomer Professor Mark Birkinshaw said ``MERLIN and the Hubble have scored a bulls-eye!''.

The size of the ring on the sky is tiny - roughly a second of arc or about the size of a penny viewed from a distance of over two miles - even though the lens consists of an entire galaxy. The blurring effect of the atmosphere makes such fine detail hard for astronomers to spot using optical telescopes on the Earth.

The British team found it by using the 135 mile-wide MERLIN radio telescope to image distant radio sources. MERLIN is a network of six radio telescopes spread out across England and operated as a national facility by the University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank observatory. MERLIN's resolution is the same as that of the Hubble Space Telescope but at a completely different wavelength - the two make perfect astronomical partners. The Hubble, orbiting above the atmosphere, took a detailed picture of the object and this revealed the spectacular bulls-eye. This is only one of over 20 galaxy lenses now known.

In an ironic twist, counting the number of gravitational lenses in the sky, including the rare Einstein rings, is the best way of seeing whether Einstein really made his ``greatest blunder''. When he applied his General Theory of Relativity to the Universe as it was known 80 years ago, Einstein had to invent a repulsive force which overcomes gravity at very large distances. This new force was soon dismissed by other astronomers but many modern cosmologists now think that Einstein may have been right first time - the lens searches will soon tell us where the truth lies.

Editor's note: The original news release, with related links and images, can be found at http://www.jb.man.ac.uk/merlin/press/PR9801/press.html


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Manchester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Manchester. "Astronomers Find First Complete Galactic Gravitational Lens, Predicted By Relativity Theory." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 April 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/04/980402075841.htm>.
University Of Manchester. (1998, April 2). Astronomers Find First Complete Galactic Gravitational Lens, Predicted By Relativity Theory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/04/980402075841.htm
University Of Manchester. "Astronomers Find First Complete Galactic Gravitational Lens, Predicted By Relativity Theory." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/04/980402075841.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Supermassive Blackhole Detector Ready for Business

Supermassive Blackhole Detector Ready for Business

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) Construction of the world&apos;s largest and most powerful observatory designed to detect and analyze gamma rays has been completed in Mexico. Gamma ray particles are considered the most energetic in the universe and scientists hope to use the observatory to learn more about the supernovas and black holes that produce them. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rocket Blasts Off Carrying U.S. Air Force GPS Satellite

Rocket Blasts Off Carrying U.S. Air Force GPS Satellite

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) A U.S. Air Force GPS IIF-9 satellite launches aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket into semi-synchronous orbit. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Opportunity's Marathon: The Mars Rover Just Keeps Going

Opportunity's Marathon: The Mars Rover Just Keeps Going

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) NASA&apos;s Opportunity Mars Rover finished a full marathon, making it the first human creation to do a full 26.2 miles on another planet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Twin Astronaut to Break NASA Record in Study

Twin Astronaut to Break NASA Record in Study

AP (Mar. 23, 2015) NASA astronaut Scott Kelly will be the first American to spend a year aboard the International Space Station in an experiment to test human endurance in space, while his twin brother&apos;s health is compared on Earth. (March 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins