Hubble Zooms in on a Magnified Galaxy
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Hubble Zooms in on a Magnified Galaxy

February 4, 2012
Thanks to the presence of a natural "zoom lens" in space, this is a close-up look at the brightest distant "magnified" galaxy in the universe known to date. It is one of the most striking examples of gravitational lensing, where the gravitational field of a foreground galaxy bends and amplifies the light of a more distant background galaxy. In this image the light from a distant galaxy, nearly 10 billion light-years away, has been warped into a nearly 90-degree arc of light in the galaxy cluster RCS2 032727-132623. The galaxy cluster lies 5 billion light-years away. The background galaxy's image is over three times brighter than typically lensed galaxies. The natural-color image was taken in March 2011 with the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3.

Credit: NASA, ESA, J. Rigby (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), K. Sharon (Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, University of Chicago), and M. Gladders and E. Wuyts (University of Chicago)

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