The NASA Hubble Space Telescope captured yet another amazing celestial phenomenon in space. NASA posted a rare image of six brilliant spots of light in a circular formation around a central pair. However, appearances can be deceiving because this formation is apparently composed of two galaxies and one distant quasar.
NASA recently tweeted, "How many galaxies do you think are in this image?" The post featured a photo taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, which showed a bright cluster of stars. First impressions led many to believe these are four stars in a circular formation around two bright spots of light.
Twitter user Venus responded, "Incredible Einstein ring. Albert Einstein predicted in his theory of general relativity that massive objects will deform the fabric of space itself."
Incredible✨ 🤩 Einstein ring 💍— venus 🧜♀️ (@venus47203379) August 27, 2021
Albert Einstein predicted in his theory of general relativity that massive objects will deform the fabric of space itself. pic.twitter.com/MWfPvIIJVv
Hubble Telescope Pictures: A Rare Galaxy Phenomenon
According to NASA, this photo contained seven brilliant spots of light in total. Four of them are surrounding three others at the very center.
NASA emphasized this image is actually two separate galaxies and one quasar imaged four times. This photo captured a rare phenomenon where the two central galaxies bent space and acted as lens for the central quasar (known as 2M1310-1714).
Notably, the quasar is a very luminous but distant object. It is not elaborated how far, but it is predicted to be galaxies away from the others. However, its light is seen clearly through a phenomenon called gravitational lensing. This occurs when celestial objects with enormous mass (like a pair of galaxies) warp the fabric of space. Light that travels through the gravitationally warped space becomes magnified.
This fantastic photo was taken by the Hubble Wide Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), which was installed back in 2009. WFC3 notably continues to provide top-quality images 12 years after its installation.
NASA Observatory Spotted Iconic Eagle Nebula
The Hubble telescope also unraveled another beautiful phenomenon in space. After repeatedly capturing the same "empty" sky in space, Hubble observed the cosmos with multiple wavelengths of light. After using the ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared range, Hubble peered the iconic Eagle Nebula.
Here is a tweet reveal of the image. The Eagle Nebula featured countless stars within its territory, all having different sizes and colors. The stars cover up every corner of the photo, with some interesting grand spires of dust extending by the middle and the sides.
Hubble observes the cosmos in multiple wavelengths of light. They range from ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared. Hubble peered at the iconic Eagle Nebula in visible and infrared light, revealing these grand spires of dust and countless stars within and around them. pic.twitter.com/1Uc9AeVjvt— NASA Universe (@NASAUniverse) August 26, 2021
Note, however, that Hubble is only one of the many amazing space telescopes currently operating in Earth's orbit. Others like Spitzer, Chandra, and Webb might also reveal exciting images and surprises later this year.
Related Article: Hubble Space Telescope Captures Rare Phenomenon: Why Do 'Einstein Rings' Occur?