Cosmic magnifying glass

IMAGE NUMBER: 3S0771 LICENSE: RIGHTS MANAGED

Cosmic Magnifying Glass: Scanning the heavens for the first time since the successful December 1999 servicing mission, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has imaged a giant, cosmic magnifying glass, a massive cluster of galaxies called Abell 2218. This "hefty" cluster resides in the constellation Draco, some 2 billion light-years from Earth. The cluster is so massive that its enormous gravitational field deflects light rays passing through it, much as an optical lens bends light to form an image. This phenomenon, called gravitational lensing, magnifies, brightens, and distorts images from faraway objects. The cluster's magnifying powers provides a powerful "zoom lens" for viewing distant galaxies that could not normally be observed with the largets telescopes.

Credit: Science Source

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