‘Einstein ring’: unusual astronomical object

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Washington: Here we have an unusual astronomical object in the galaxy, an ‘Einstein ring.’

A PhD student Margherita Bettinelli, of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and the University of La Laguna (ULL), together with an international team of astrophysicists has recently discovered this unusual astronomical object.

These phenomena, predicted by Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, are quite rare but scientifically interesting. The interest is sufficiently strong that this object has been given its own name, the “The Canarias Einstein ring”.

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An Einstein ring is a distorted image of a very distant galaxy, which is termed “the source”.

The distortion is produced by the bending of the light rays from the source due to a massive galaxy, termed “the lens”, lying between it and the observer.

The strong gravitational field produced by the lens galaxy distorts the structure of space-time in its neighbourhood, and this does not only attract objects which have a mass, but also bends the paths of light.

When the two galaxies are exactly aligned, the image of the more distant galaxy is converted into an almost perfect circle which surrounds the lens galaxy.

The irregularities in the circle are due to asymmetries in the source galaxy.

The study has been published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.