News ID: 196735
Published: 0443 GMT 16 Jul 2017

Gravitational lens reveals one of the cosmos' brightest known galaxies

Gravitational lens reveals one of the cosmos' brightest known galaxies
UPI
White arrows reveal multiple iterations of the distant galaxy's light. Lensing yields multiple images of the galaxy, organized in a ring around the intermediary source of light-warping gravity.

Scientists in Spain have discovered one of the brightest galaxies in the Universe with the help of a gravitational lens.

Located some 10 thousand million light-years from Earth, the newly discovered galaxy is a thousand times brighter than the Milky Way, UPI reported.

The galaxy's light is bent by the gravity of a galactic cluster situated closer to Earth, a phenomenon known as gravitational lensing.

The effect magnifies the distant galaxy without distorting the spectral qualities of the light, allowing astronomers to study the galaxy in detail.

Gravity lensing causes the newly discovered galaxy to appear 11 times bigger and brighter than it is in reality.

Lensing also reveals multiple images of the distant galaxy, organized in a ring around the intermediary source of light-warping gravity.

The galaxy is the brightest known submillimeter galaxy, a group of galaxies named for their extreme luminosity in the far infrared portion of the spectrum.

Researchers at the Technical University of Cartagena and the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary (IAC) Islands used telescopes at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory to survey the submillimeter galaxy.

The latest survey, published in Astrophysical Journal Letters, suggested the bright, distant galaxy is a prodigious star-maker, generating 1000 solar masses per year.

The Milky Way, by comparison, generates just two solar masses per year.

Susana Iglesias-Groth, an IAC astrophysicist, said, "This type of objects harbor the most powerful star forming regions known in the Universe.

"The next step will be to study their molecular content."

Researchers hope new, more powerful telescopes and interferometers will render bright, faraway galaxies in even greater detail, revealing their chemical contents.

   
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