September 30, 2023


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Einstein’s Cross shining in the constellation Hercules photographed by a large telescope in South America |  sorae universe portal website

Einstein’s Cross shining in the constellation Hercules photographed by a large telescope in South America | sorae universe portal website

This image captures an angle of the constellation Hercules. The image was acquired using the MUSE wide-field spectroscopic observing instrument of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile, operated by the European Southern Observatory (ESO). The image width is approximately 1/30 of the Moon’s apparent diameter (field of view is 1.05 x 1.01 arcminute).

[▲ “صليب أينشتاين” تم التقاطه بواسطة أداة المراقبة الطيفية السطحية واسعة المجال “MUSE” التابعة للتلسكوب الكبير جدًا (VLT) (مصدر الصورة: ESO/A. Cikota et al.)]

In the center of the image is a strange-looking celestial object. ESO looks like four bluish-white lights arranged in a cross shape around an orange glow with flower petals. However, this does not mean that a celestial body of this shape actually exists, as there are in fact two galaxies.

This flower blooming in space is a clear appearance created by the “gravitational lensing effect.” Gravitational lensing occurs when space-time is distorted by the mass of a celestial body in front (the lensed object), which changes the direction of light emitted by the celestial body on the other side (the light source), causing a distorted image on Earth, a phenomenon in which the image of the celestial body itself appears magnified or magnified. Divided into multiple parts.

In this case, depending on the mass of the orange galaxy in front (about 5.4 billion light-years away), the direction of light from the distant galaxy behind it (more than 11 billion light-years away) changes. From the ground, the image appears to be divided into four parts. Gravitational lensing is a phenomenon predicted by Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity, so what appears to be a split cross like the one in the picture is called an “Einstein Cross”, also known as an Einstein Cross.

According to ESO, a research team led by Alexander Sykota of the Gemini Observatory analyzed images of distant galaxies that had undergone gravitational lensing and found that they may be starburst galaxies that are rapidly forming stars. The first image was published as the European Southern Observatory’s Image of the Week on September 11, 2023.


[▲ “صليب أينشتاين” تم التقاطه بواسطة مطياف السطح واسع المجال “MUSE” الخاص بالتلسكوب الكبير جدًا (VLT). المنظر الموسع على اليسار (مصدر الصورة: ESO/A. Cikota et al.)]

*Distances are expressed in the article as “optical path distance”, which refers to the distance light from a celestial body travels before it is observed on Earth.


  • Image credit: ESO/A. Sekota et al.
  • Which -A flower with four petals
  • Sekota et al. – DESI-253.2534+26.8843: A new Einstein cross spectroscopically confirmed with the Very Large Telescope/MUSE and modeled with the GIGA lens (The Astrophysical Journal Letters)

Text Editing/Syrian Studies Department

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