NASA Hubble Space Telescope Molten Ring Galaxy
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured yet another breathtaking image, this time of GAL-CLUS-022058s, a curved galaxy located in the southern hemisphere constellation of Fornax (the Furnace). This molten-ring-like galaxy is the largest and one of the most complete Einstein rings ever discovered in our universe. It received this nickname from astronomers studying this Einstein ring due to its appearance and host constellation. Read more for a video about Hubble’s servicing mission and additional information.

Einstein first theorized these kinds of galaxies to exist in his general theory of relativity, as this object’s unusual shape can be explained by a process called gravitational lensing. This phenomenon occurs when light shining from far away is bent and pulled by the gravity of an object between its source and the observer. The light from this background galaxy has been distorted into the curve we obsserve by the gravity of the galaxy cluster situated in front of it.

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The near exact alignment of the background galaxy with the central elliptical galaxy of the cluster, seen in the middle of this image, has warped and magnified the image of the background galaxy into an almost perfect ring. The gravity from other galaxies in the cluster causes additional distortions. Objects like these are the ideal laboratories in which to study galaxies that are often too faint and distant to otherwise see without gravitational lensing,” said NASA.