Hubble photograph of a lens. The blue arc is the lens, and the red circle is an elliptical galaxy.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA
Pretty Lenses are Caught by Hubble
News story originally written on May 14, 1999
The NASA Hubble Space Telescope has recently found some awesome mirages produced by lenses in space. These lenses act as giant magnifying glasses for the Universe. A lens is produced when a large object such as a galaxy or black hole bends the light coming from behind it. This bending forms figures and patterns of light around the object.
Scientists have formed a "top ten" list from pictures taken by Hubble. These lenses were found in an area about the size of a full moon, which means that many more exist than once thought.
The Earth's atmosphere blocks our view of many lenses, even when using the most powerful telescopes. With help from the Hubble Telescope, we can find many more. The new discoveries allow us to probe deeper into the past, where we can learn more about our Universe.
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