So near, or so far?

Esahubble_potw2401a_1024

esahubble_potw2401a January 1st, 2024

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, H. Nayyeri, L. Marchetti, J. Lowenthal

What are we looking at when we study this image? A very distant galaxy that lies 19.5 billion light-years from Earth? Or a much closer luminous red galaxy that is a (relatively) small 2.7 billion light-years away? Or a third galaxy that appears to be fairly close to the second? The answer, perhaps confusingly, is that we are looking at all three. More precisely, we are looking at light emitted from all of those galaxies, even though the most distant galaxy lies directly behind the first as seen from Earth. In fact, it is that very alignment that makes the particular visuals in this image possible. The central bright dot in this image is one of the closer galaxies, known by the lengthy — but informative — name of SDSS J020941.27+001558.4 (galaxy names in this format provide precise information about their location in the sky). The other bright dot above it — that appears to be intersecting a curving crescent of light — is SDSS J020941.23+001600.7, the second closer galaxy. And finally, that curving crescent of light itself is the ‘lensed’ light from the very distant galaxy. This is known as HerS J020941.1+001557, and it is also an interesting example of a phenomenon known as an Einstein ring. Einstein rings occur when light from a very distant object is bent (or ‘lensed’) about a massive intermediate (or ‘lensing)’ object. This is possible because spacetime, the fabric of the Universe itself, is bent by mass, and therefore light travelling through spacetime is as well. This is much too subtle to be observed on a local level, but sometimes becomes clearly observable when dealing with curvatures of light on enormous, astronomical scales, for example, when the light emitted from a galaxy is bent around another galaxy or galaxy cluster. When the lensed object and the lensing object line up just so, the result is the distinctive Einstein ring shape, which appears as a full or partial circle of light around the lensing object, depending on how precise the alignment is. This partial Einstein ring is of particular interest as it was identified thanks to a citizen science project — SPACE WARPS — meaning that members of the public enabled the discovery of this object! [Image Description: A field full of distant galaxies on a dark background. Most of the galaxies are very small, but there are a few larger galaxies and some stars where detail can be made out. In the very centre there is an elliptical galaxy with a brightly glowing core and a broad disc. A reddish, warped ring of light, thicker at one side, surrounds its core. A small galaxy intersects the ring as a bright dot.] Links Pan: So near, or so far?

Provider: Hubble Space Telescope | ESA

Image Source: https://esahubble.org/images/potw2401a/

Curator: ESA/Hubble, Baltimore, MD, United States

Image Use Policy: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
HerS J020941.1+001557
Esahubble_potw2401a_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 2h 9m 41.3s
DEC = 0° 15’ 59.7”
Orientation
North is 21.2° CCW
Field of View
1.9 x 2.1 arcminutes
Constellation
Cetus

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Blue Hubble (WFC3) Infrared (YJ) 1.1 µm
Green Hubble (WFC3) Infrared (J) 1.3 µm
Red Hubble (WFC3) Infrared (H) 1.6 µm
Spectrum_base
Blue
Green
Red
Esahubble_potw2401a_1280
×
ID
potw2401a
Subject Category
Subject Name
HerS J020941.1+001557
Credits
ESA/Hubble & NASA, H. Nayyeri, L. Marchetti, J. Lowenthal
Release Date
2024-01-01T06:00:00
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
https://esahubble.org/images/potw2401a/
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Distance Notes
Facility
Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope
Instrument
WFC3, WFC3, WFC3
Color Assignment
Blue, Green, Red
Band
Infrared, Infrared, Infrared
Bandpass
YJ, J, H
Central Wavelength
1100, 1250, 1600
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
None, None, None
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
J2000
Reference Value
32.422062650803305, 0.2665908055445749
Reference Dimension
881.0, 970.0
Reference Pixel
440.5, 485.0
Scale
-3.5599213595740313e-05, 3.5599213595740313e-05
Rotation
21.159999999999989
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
ESA/Hubble
URL
https://esahubble.org
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
ESA Office, Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Dr
City
Baltimore
State/Province
MD
Postal Code
21218
Country
United States
Rights
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher
ESA/Hubble
Publisher ID
esahubble
Resource ID
potw2401a
Metadata Date
2023-12-18T15:43:37+01:00
Metadata Version
1.1
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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There is no distance meta data in this image.

 

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