solve the puzzle! Hubble’s strange double galaxy caused by a “ripple” in space

solve the puzzle! Hubble’s strange double galaxy caused by a “ripple” in space
solve the puzzle! Hubble’s strange double galaxy caused by a “ripple” in space

Astronomers think they’ve finally solved a mystery they first discovered nearly a decade ago Hubble Space Telescope.

The dilemma centered on a strange “double galaxy,” a pair of striped objects that once defied interpretation. Now, scientists believe that things are actually far away galaxy Which appears in two forms thanks to a “ripple” in the fabric of space, which enlarges and distorts its image.

From Earth, the doubled objects 11 billion light-years away look like mirror images of each other. When astronomers first saw them in 2013, they immediately suspected a case gravity lens A phenomenon that occurs when light from a distant object, such as an image through a fishbowl, is distorted by gravity for something else between this object and the observer.

Belong to: The largest Hubble Space Telescope of all time

He answered how, not what or why. Hubble caught a glimpse of quite a few gravitational lensed objects in its day, and this was more than just a distortion. The gravitational lens not only enlarged the galaxy, but also mirrored it, creating two bright images, as well as a third, weaker version that can also be seen in the image.

After years of pondering the problem, astronomers have finally identified the culprit: a large, unincorporated cluster of galaxies located between Hubble and the object, about 7 billion light-years from Earth. In addition, the lens galaxy is sitting on a kind of ripple in space caused by the gravity of the dense masses. black matter, the mysterious substance that makes up about 85% of the matter in the universe.

The researchers said the additional images were produced when light from the distant galaxy passed through the prominent cluster along this ripple.

“Think of the undulating surface of a pool on a sunny day, showing patterns of bright light at the bottom of the pool,” said Richard Griffiths, an astronomer at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, He said in a press release.

“These optical patterns on the background are caused by a type of effect similar to gravitational lenses,” added Griffiths, lead author of a recent study that published the results. “The ripples on the surface act like partial lenses and focus sunlight into shiny wavy patterns on the background.”

Team members said the “ripple” could help astronomers better understand how dark matter is distributed throughout the universe. For example, by comparing Hubble images with computer models, the researchers determined that the dark matter in question might not have been lumpy, but rather smoothly spread out.

“It’s remarkable that we only need two mirror images to measure how close or not dark matter is clumping at these locations,” study co-author Jenny Wagner, an astronomer at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, said in the same release. .

studying Featured in the September issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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