Wondering about wild grapes

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Wondering about gravitational lensing.

Did you know that gravity can affect light?  Well it sure can and because of that, astronomers have used this phenomenon to detect light from very, very distant galaxies.  How, you may ask?  Well, a galaxy in line with a more distant galaxy will smear the more distant one's light all around the nearer one.  It will make a perfect halo circle of light if the two are perfectly aligned, but if they are not quite in line, the halo of smeared light is not so perfect.  OK, want to see some examples?  First, let me show you picture that will explain what I am talking about.  Irrelevant stuff was removed from this picture to show the process more clearly:

This next picture was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and shows actual lensing of a distant galaxy.  It smeared the light from the distant galaxy almost in a perfect circle around the closer one:

Just in case you want some more examples to look at, here are eight more:

Hope you enjoyed seeing some of the wonders of our universe.  Of course the biggest wonder of all are all you readers of my blog.  So, have yourself a very great day, you hear?


  1. I hope all this space exploration is just a hobby. I would hate to think my tax dollars are spent on something that will never in my lifetime make my life better. I mean, so what if life is found on a planet that takes a thousand years to get to. Who's gonna live there anyhows?

  2. Space is something that is fun to look at. So many things to ponder while studying it.

  3. While I'm firmly planted on this earth and think we should try to make this a cleaner and more livable world, I love thinking about space and all those billions of planets. Don't understand when it gets to the big numbers though.

  4. B.B., there are a lot of spin-off benefits from the space program - like cell phones for instance. I was just trying to show that gravity can bend light. Einstein was right.

    H.J., that is for sure, I love to look up at night.

    Gypsy, there are a lot of things in the universe, including the universe, that is not completely understood. Scientist are good at guessing but they call it theories.

  5. When you use cell phones as an example of the spin-off benefits of the space program I think you are reaching. There are some of us, or maybe just me, that don't think cell phones are a benefit. I didn't particularly like the telephone and certainly don't see the cell phone as an improvement or benefit to my life.

    1. I like to travel and they sure do come in handy on the road. Both my wife and I have one and whe shopping in a huge store, they make it easier to find each other.