Hubble photographed a massive galaxy cluster

The Hubble mission support team has released a new image taken by the space telescope. This time it photographed the galaxy cluster Abell 1351.

Galaxy cluster Abell 1351. Source: ESA/Hubble & NASA, H. Ebeling

In the Hubble image, we can see a lot of bright stripes. This is not an artifact of the shooting, but distant galaxies. The reason why their images are distorted in this way is because of Abell 1351. Its powerful gravity bends and amplifies the rays of light emitted by more distant objects, which leads to the appearance of optical mirages. This is called the gravitational lensing effect.

Astronomers actively use such gravitational lenses to look at the edges of the Universe. They make it possible to see objects so far away that even the most powerful of existing telescopes would not be able to see.

Gravitational lenses can be created not only by clusters, but also by much smaller bodies, including stars. As a rule, they are used to search for exoplanets. This method also makes it possible to find objects that are not part of stellar systems (rogue planets, brown dwarfs, wandering black holes) and register exoplanets located at very large distances from Earth — including in neighboring galaxies.

According to

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