Relativity in Action

Something I found on space.com, and I had to share.

A Cosmic Horseshoe

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASAWednesday, December 28, 2011: A fortuitous alignment of celestial mechanics has given the Hubble Space Telescope an amazing view of some distant galaxies. Here, one interesting red galaxy is encircled by a hazy blue horseshoe shape and contains about 10 times the mass of our Milky Way galaxy. But take another look.

It’s actually the blue horsehoe shape that has astronomers talking about this photo. The horseshoe is actually a distant galaxy that has been magnified and warped into a nearly complete ring by the strong gravitational pull of the massive red galaxy in the foreground. To see such a so-called Einstein Ring required the fortunate alignment of the foreground and background galaxies, making this object’s nickname “the Cosmic Horseshoe” particularly apt, NASA says.

— SPACE.com Staff

… which is predicted by Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.  Seeing something like this fills me with a sense of awe about the wonders – discovered and not yet discovered – of the universe.  It also troubles me that such things are dismissed and trivialized as the “work of God” by people who wield enough power and influence in this country to control the funding for making – and explaining – such discoveries.

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One Response to Relativity in Action

  1. I’m always left in awe by things I didn’t see coming. And a galaxy acting as a lens is certainly something I didn’t see coming, if you’ll pardon the pun. So I thank for sharing this and leaving me in awe. It’s quite a marvellous feeling.

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