Thanks to the Wide Angle Camera 3, the Hubble Space Telescope has managed to capture the so-called ‘fivefold vision’ effect, caused by the gravitational lensing. Astronomers of the European Space Agency (ESA) They have published an image taken by the ship, illustrating the phenomenon.
Grouped in the center of this image are six points of light, four of them forming a circle around a central pair. However, as the researchers explain, “appearances can be deceiving.” “This formation is not made up of six individual galaxies, but only for three: to be precise, a pair of galaxies and a distant quasar “, they detailed from ESA.
This rare phenomenon is caused by the presence of two galaxies in the foreground that act as lenses.
“The central pair of galaxies in this image are actually two separate galaxies, which lie 3.8 billion light-years from Earth,” the astronomers explained. “The four bright spots that surround them, and the dimmest in the center, are actually five separate images of a single quasar, known as 2M1310-1714, an extremely bright but distant object. “
According to ESA, the reason behind this ‘fivefold vision’ effect is the phenomenon known as gravitational lensing.
“Gravitational lensing occurs when a celestial object with a huge amount of mass causes the structure of space to deform in such a way that light, traveling through that space from a distant object, bends and increases enough to that humans here on Earth can observe multiple magnified images of the distant source, “the scientists detailed.