The rare “Einstein Ring’ has been discovered by an international team of astrophysicists, who stumbled upon the unusual astronomical object while analyzing images of the Sculptor dwarf galaxy.
The new ring was found accidently by researchers at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) in the Canary Islands.
The astronomers were using the 13 foot (4 meters) Blanco Telescope in Chile. The details of the study were published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society on June 1, 2016.
The phenomenon which was first envisaged by Albert Einstein’s theory of General Relativity is extremely rare and was named “The Canarias Einstein ring.”
What is an Einstein ring?
Einstein Ring refers to a distorted image of a very distant galaxy, and the distortion is caused by the curving of the light rays from a source by a massive galaxy which is termed the lens, present between the observer and the source.
Bizarre Glowing Ring found in Space
The high gravitational force exerted by the massive galaxy distorts the space-time fabric in its neighborhood and exerts its effect not only on objects which have mass but also bends the paths of light.
Therefore when two galaxies are precisely aligned, the image of the more distant galaxy is converted into a complete circle.
The just discovered optical phenomenon happens to be the perfect symmetrical rings ever seen, and the two galaxies are perfectly aligned.
It is made up of two galaxies, one behind another. The furthest one is 10000 million light years distant and the one in between is 6000 million light years away.
The universe is expanding and the distance was smaller when the light started its journey towards the observer, the light took almost 8500 million years to reach us.
Therefore what we observe today is something which happened when the blue galaxy had just started to evolve and was populated by very young stars. The lens galaxy is closer to us and its stars have stopped forming.
Study of such phenomenon gives astronomers an idea of the composition of the source galaxy. It also adds to the knowledge of the structure of gravitational field and the dark matter in the lens galaxy.