A frightening and spectacular donut-shaped ring of light has allowed scientists to observe what is happening in a galaxy near the beginning of time.
This circle, often known as Einstein’s Ring after the brilliant physicist who predicted its existence in 1915, is actually a light smear caused by a lens effect that occurs when an object in the foreground with strong gravity amplifies light from a more distant galaxy behind it.
According to a statement released by the Hubble Space Telescope, we see the galaxy in the ring as it was around 9 billion years ago. This corresponds to the time when the universe was only about a third of its current age of 13.8 billion years!
A view across the “Molten Ring”
Nicknamed “Molten Ring”, the circle has been cataloged as GAL-CLUS-022058s, and it is seen in the constellation Fornax, the Furnace, in the southern hemisphere, and if you think it sounds familiar , maybe you are right. The image was first published in 2020, with experts saying it was one of the most complete Einstein rings ever cataloged.
Subsequently, the researchers resuscitated archival data collected by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope to calculate the galaxy’s distance to 9.4 billion light years and were able to recreate the smears and smears. duplications of the molten ring in the galaxy that formed it using photos from Hubble, which provided information on its evolution.
Thanks to the Hubble images, it was revealed that the galaxy is in the sequence of star-forming galaxies, which is a correlation between the mass of the galaxy and the rate of star formation. This galaxy originated at a time when star formation was at an all time high, with new stars forming at a rate of 70 to 170 solar masses each year.
“It was a time when the universe was going through a ‘baby boom’, forming thousands of stars at a prolific rate. The enlarged image of the galaxy gives astronomers a close-up glimpse of the distant past, ”the Hubble statement explained.
According to Nikolaus Sulzenauer, a Ph.D. student at the Max Plank Institute for Radio Astronomy in Germany and member of the research team, “The detection of molecular gas, from which new stars are born, allowed us to calculate the precise redshift. and thus gives us the assurance that we are really looking in a very distant galaxy, ”according to a statement issued by the European Space Agency, a partner of the project.
So what can we learn from this period of star formation in the history of the universe? Usually we can’t see galaxies so well back then because, in addition to their distance, they were incredibly dusty. Studying this period can help scientists understand how today’s galaxies evolved.