Mystery of Galaxy Evolution Revealed by Distant Cosmic Lens
The most distant cosmic lens — a galaxy whose gravity warps and deflects light from an even more distant stellar nursery — has been discovered by an international team of astronomers. This so-called gravitational lens, which is so distant it takes the distorted light 9.4 billion years to reach Earth, can be used to measure the mass of the faraway galaxy, according to a new study.
The discovery began as a fortuitous accident, said study lead author Arjen van der Wel, an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany. Researchers sifting through data collected by the Hubble Space Telescope stumbled on curious observations of a distant galaxy.