Our feeds have been bombarded with breathtakingly beautiful images of space since the first James Webb Space Telescope images were released in July, ranging from ridiculously detailed pictures of Jupiter to the farthest distant star known.
Webb has now accomplished this feat once more, this time successfully photographing an almost flawless Einstein ring located around 12 billion light-years away.
Below is a colorized version of the photograph that astronomy graduate student Spaceguy44 posted on Reddit.
An Einstein ring develops when a big galaxy in front of a distant galaxy magnifies it and wraps it into a nearly perfect ring, as Spaceguy44 explains on Reddit.
The galaxy in consideration is known as SPT-S J041839-4751.8, and its distance from Earth is an astounding 12 billion light-years.
Here is a further-reaching perspective of it that Spaceguy44 also processed:
Without the Einstein ring, according to Spaceguy44, we wouldn’t be able to observe this galaxy at all.
Additionally, the existence of Einstein rings makes it possible to investigate these galaxies, which would otherwise be extremely hard to observe.
Einstein predicted this effect, hence the term gravitational lensing, which describes the process.
The alignment of the far-off galaxy, the nearby magnifying galaxy, and the observer (in this example, the Webb space telescope) is required for the effect to occur.
Even though seeing Einstein’s rings is unusual, it does occasionally happen. Hubble has already taken pictures of stunning Einstein rings.
The information in the most recent image was retrieved from the MAST portal and was obtained by Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) camera.