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Seeing Double (or More!) in Frontier Fields Images

9 Jul 2014, 18:27 UTC
Seeing Double (or More!) in Frontier Fields Images
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Take a long look at this image. You’re seeing a lot of distant galaxies magnified by the natural “gravitational lens” of galaxy cluster Abell 2744. But you aren’t seeing as many as you think. Gravitational lenses, natural magnifiers created in space when light is bent by the enormous mass of galaxy clusters, distort and enlarge […]

Galaxy cluster Abell 2744, the first of the Frontier Fields to be imaged.
Take a long look at this image. You’re seeing a lot of distant galaxies magnified by the natural “gravitational lens” of galaxy cluster Abell 2744. But you aren’t seeing as many as you think.
Gravitational lenses, natural magnifiers created in space when light is bent by the enormous mass of galaxy clusters, distort and enlarge the images of distant galaxies behind the cluster. But they do more than that: sometimes they replicate them, like multiple images in a funhouse mirror.
Galaxy cluster Abell 2744, with multiple images of individual galaxies marked. These multiple images are produced by the cluster’s gravitational lens.
In the above image, we’ve marked the galaxies that are actually images of the same galaxy by overlaying them with numbered triangles. Each galaxy has a number. The multiple images ...

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