The image shown below was taken by the ESA/Hubble team in December 2020. The image shows the most complete Einstein Ring ever discovered. The discovery of the Einstein Ring enabled scientists to develop a lensing model allowing the study of the physical properties of the lensed galaxy.
Researchers have measured the distance to the object and determined the magnification resulting from the lensing to be 20. When the lensing magnification factor is taken into account, observing the galaxy through the Einstein Ring makes the Hubble equivalent to a 48-meter telescope. The Einstein Ring in question is called GAL-CLUS-022058s and is located in the constellation of Fornax.
Gravitational lensing is a process that causes light from a galaxy very far from us to be bent by the gravity of that object between its light and observers on Earth. The Einstein Ring was nicknamed “Molten Ring” because, in this case, the light from the galaxy that was lensed was distorted into a curve due to the gravity of the galaxy cluster in front of it.
Since the background galaxy was aligned almost perfectly with the center of the galaxy cluster, which is seen in the middle of the image above, the background galaxy was warped and magnified into an almost perfect ring. The Hubble team says gravity from the galaxies in the cluster will cause additional distortions.
Scientists point out that determining the physical properties of the lensed galaxy required a lensing model, and the only way to obtain that model was by utilizing Hubble’s imaging capability. One of the critical observations by Hubble identified four counter images along with the stellar clumps of the lens galaxy. That image is the one seen above and was selected as the image of the week.