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Ancient Source of Gravitational Lensing Discovered by Astronomers

Jul 27, 2016 08:50 AM EDT

Astronomers have discovered an ancient source of gravitational lensing or the bending of light from a distant galaxy by the gravitational influence of the foreground galaxy.

According to experts, a single foreground galaxy, in theory, can simultaneously affect multiple background galaxies and create several lensing at once. But on a normal basis, only a single galaxy is lensed at a time, according to Phys.Org. Due to its rarity, the lensing effect or lensing system is important to scientists and astronomers since it gives a unique opportunity to understand cosmology.

Surprisingly, a new lens system has been discovered by students called the "Eye of Horus", an ancient eye in the sky that is expected to add significant data to the understanding of the formation and history of the universe.

The "Eye of Horus" was discovered by a team of students and researchers at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan as well as the Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona.

"Although measuring distances to such faint galaxies is always a challenge, we were able to accomplish this goal by using one of the twin 6.5-meter Magellan Telescopes in Chile with the near-infrared spectrograph called FIRE," Eiichi Egami, an astronomer with the Steward Observatory said in a statement.

The rare eye-like formation was discovered and it is believed to be unique and more complex because the light from two different galaxies are being bent by one foreground galaxy creating an illusion of a shape of an eye. The galaxies found 7, 9, 10.5 billion light years away formed the rare system where the light are strongly bent by the gravitational force of every galaxy it will encounter as it journey towards the Earth, billions of light years away, according to Daily Mail.

The effect is in line with Einstein Theory of relativity that discusses the nature of gravity.


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