TECH

Rare Image Captures A Galaxy Being Magnified By Another

08/04/2015 12:36 BST | Updated 08/04/2015 12:59 BST

A distant galaxy has become visible thanks to the phenomenon of gravitational lensing. The highest-resolution image of its kind, the galaxy was snapped using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).

Seen clearly as a 'ring', SDP.81 is perfectly magnified by a galaxy far closer. Thanks to the perfect alignment of the two, astronomers are able to get a tantalisingly high resolution glance at a galaxy that is believed to be over 12 billion light years away.

gravity lens

Gravitational lensing, otherwise known as the 'Einstein Ring' is a phenomenon which occurs when a massive galaxy is able to bend the light of another galaxy around it, magnifying it into view.

The image that was taken is a composite, taking the high resolution dust cloud and combining it with more precise readings which show the water and carbon monoxide signatures.

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