Not a week passes by without a major reveal by NASA and once again, we are fortunate to see an incredibly rare cosmic wonder – an Einstein Ring. This rare event was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope and has been given a much more recognizable name – the “molten ring”.
The gravitational field of such large space objects as the Sun is quite strong. Its mass is even capable of bending the fabric of space-time. The principle of operation is the same as for a magnifying glass. When light hits it, it bends through the lens. This makes the object appear closer. This phenomenon is called gravitational lensing. It was first described by Albert Einstein in his general theory of relativity.
Recently, the Hubble Space Telescope discovered an example of the above phenomenon. It managed to fix the largest known Einstein Ring to date. The telescope saw a distant galaxy curving around a giant star. This find was described by NASA as “a very rare occurrence”, and because of its fiery appearance was named the “molten ring”. Of course, we need to specify the real scientific name of the celestial object – GAL-CLUS-022058-38303.
This phenomenon distorted and visually brought closer the image of the galaxy. The agency emphasized that events like these give us the best chance of studying galaxies which are often too far away to be studied without gravitational lensing.
Largest Einstein Ring & the Future of Space Exploration
Since we are once again discussing a discovery made with the help of the Hubble Space Telescope, why not discuss the future of space exploration.
We all know about the future flagship of NASA’s exploration program – the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Recently, it was mentioned that the Hubble Space Telescope may actually continue to operate for many more years despite the fact that it is already 30 years old. Unfortunately, the most likely scenario is that it will soon be retired.
To me, this will be a mistake as it is clear that it still has the functionality to be useful in future research and discoveries. This was proven by this recent image of the Einstein Ring. Of course, it will not be able to compare to the specifications of the JWST but I believe such technologies should be modernized and used for as long as they can be useful.
As for the James Webb Space Telescope which has been scheduled for 2021, it will be so powerful that astronomers should finally have the opportunity to study the history of the universe and how it formed. It is said that it will be able to scan thousands of planets for alien life only by searching for biosignals in the atmosphere. Not to mention that it will be able to impregnate the dust clouds where stars are forming and so much more.
Discoveries like the largest Einstein Ring made by Hubble are significant, no doubt, but we can all assume that JWST will begin a new era of space exploration. Nevertheless, I do not want to see Hubble retired so soon and I believe that these two telescopes could easily be used together in the future.
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• Jenner, L. (2020, December 16). Hubble Sees a ‘Molten Ring’.
• Martin, S. (2020, December 23). NASA’s Hubble telescope sees ‘molten ring’ in space, proving Albert Einstein right.
• Mclaughlin, H. (2020, December 22). Hubble captures a clear shot of a ‘Molten Ring’.
• Tomaswick, A. (2020, December 26). One of the Largest, Most Complete Einstein Rings Ever Seen. Astronomers Call it the “Molten Ring”.