Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | 2020 May 15
Images collected for dark energy telescope project reveal hundreds of new gravitational lens candidates
Like crystal balls for the universe’s deeper mysteries, galaxies and other massive space objects can serve as lenses to more distant objects and phenomena along the same path, bending light in revelatory ways.
Gravitational lensing was first theorized by Albert Einstein more than 100 years ago to describe how light bends when it travels past massive objects like galaxies and galaxy clusters.
These lensing effects are typically described as weak or strong, and the strength of a lens relates to an object’s position and mass and distance from the light source that is lensed. Strong lenses can have 100 billion times more mass than our sun, causing light from more distant objects in the same path to magnify and split, for example, into multiple images, or to appear as dramatic arcs or rings.
The major limitation of strong gravitational lenses has been their scarcity, with only several hundred confirmed since the first observation in 1979, but that’s changing … and fast. ...
Finding Strong Gravitational Lenses in the DESI DECam Legacy Survey ~ X. Huang et al