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Science, Evolution, and Creationism, by the National Academies, focuses on teaching evolution in today's classrooms. Check out the other publications in our online store.
Hubble photograph of a lens. The blue arc is the lens, and the red circle is an elliptical galaxy.
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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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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF