Webb snaps nearly perfect Einstein ring 12 billion light-years away: ScienceAlert

Webb snaps nearly perfect Einstein ring 12 billion light-years away: ScienceAlert
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The first images were from the James Webb Space Telescope released in Julyour feeds are filled with insanely gorgeous photos of outer space – insanely so Detailed images of Jupiter for the most distant known star.

Now, Webb has done it again, this time capturing a nearly perfect Einstein ring — about 12 billion light years away. And we can’t stop looking.

You can see a colorful image shared by a graduate student in astronomy Spaceguy44 on Redditbelow.

Spaceguy 44 explains on RedditAn Einstein ring is formed when a distant galaxy is magnified and twisted into a nearly perfect ring by a giant galaxy in front of it.

The galaxy in question is called SPT-S J041839-4751.8, and it’s gorgeous. 12 billion light years away.

A further view of it, also rendered by Spaceguy44:

A distant view of the yellow ring in space
Galaxy SPT-S J041839-4751.8. (JWST/MAST; Spaceguy44/Reddit)

According to Spaceguy44, if it weren’t for the Einstein ring, we wouldn’t be able to see this galaxy at all.

The presence of the Einstein rings, in addition to looking beautiful, allows us to study galaxies that are almost impossible to see.

This process is known as gravitational lensing, and it’s an effect predicted by Einstein – hence the name.

The effect only occurs when the distant galaxy, the closer growing galaxy, and the observer (in this case the Webb Space Telescope) are aligned.

If you want to try it out for yourself, Spaceguy44 he says the stem and base of the wine glass create a similar effect. Try doing this with a page of a book and see the word magnified.

While it’s rare to come across Einstein’s rings, it’s not unheard of. Hubble previously caught Pictures of the magnificent Einstein rings.

This isn’t even the first time Webb has captured the Einstein ring of SPT-S J041839-4751.8.

The space telescope’s Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) imaged the same region in August and Spaceguy44 painted and then released.

But the image below was not so clear.

A yellow ring in space.
A near-infrared image of the Einstein ring. (JWST/MAST; Spaceguy44/Reddit)

In the latest image, the data was captured by Webb Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) camera, and downloaded from the site MAST portal.

The image uses three different filters. The red is an F1000W filter that captures wavelengths of light at 10µm. Green is the F770W filter for the 7.7µm wavelength. Blue is the F560W filter picking up 5.6µm wavelengths.

The images were then aligned and colored using Spaceguy44 astropiaand post-processing was done in GIMP.

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