GAL-CLUS-022058-38303, located in the southern constellation of Fornax, has an extreme diameter — approximately 20 arcseconds.
Nicknamed the Molten Ring, which alludes to its appearance and host constellation, this spectacular object is the result of gravitational lensing by a foreground elliptical galaxy 4 billion light-years away.
The ring shows two extremely distant galaxies (perhaps interacting), resulting in double arcs with striking differences in color.
“First theorized to exist by Einstein in his general theory of relativity, this object’s unusual shape can be explained by a process called gravitational lensing, which causes light shining from far away to be bent and pulled by the gravity of an object between its source and the observer,” Hubble astronomers said.
“In this case, the light from the background galaxy has been distorted into the curve we see by the gravity of the galaxy cluster sitting in front of it.”
“The near exact alignment of the background galaxy with the central elliptical galaxy of the cluster, seen in the middle of this image, has warped and magnified the image of the background galaxy around itself into an almost perfect ring.”
“The gravity from other galaxies in the cluster is soon to cause additional distortions.”
“Objects like these are the ideal laboratory in which to research galaxies too faint and distant to otherwise see,” they concluded.
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