Hubble Space Telescope is involved in yet another vital discovery for the science. The scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope have located the farthest lensing galaxy to date. Owing to their massive size, lensing galaxies exhibit features of magnifying glass objects behind them, which help scientists to analyze even further away galaxies.
Important discovery to study dark matter
It takes 9.6 billion years for light to reach our planet from the newly found lensing galaxy. According to astronomers, the galaxy is magnifying a small spiral galaxy behind it that is moving into a star formation. From the spiral galaxy, light takes 10.7 billion light years to reach our Earth.
Galaxies with magnifying features and at such distances are hard to discover as most lensing galaxies found up till now are not that far away. Kenneth Wong, one of the scientists involved in the discovery, said there are numerous lensing galaxies, but all of them are nearby. This new finding will help the experts to study distant past dark matter, which is not visible but accounts for a major part of the mass of the universe. By studying the new lens galaxy and nearby galaxies, scientists will be able to study the evolution of dark matter.
According to NASA, the latest lensing galaxy is part of the cluster of galaxies termed as IRC 0218, which is 9.6 billion light-years away, and is 180 billion times bigger than the sun.
Hubble Space Telescope, a real hero
The Hubble Space Telescope made the discovery possible. The space telescope was launched in 1990 and is still pushing the frontiers of observational astronomy.
According to Matt Mountain, director of the Space Telescope Science Institute at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, they are still learning to use it even better, “whether it’s looking for exoplanet atmospheres, measuring dark energy to a precision we never thought possible or using gravitational lenses to push Hubble to look even further back in time.”
Recently, the Hubble Space Telescope has been used to locate minor planets beyond Pluto that are difficult to trace. Hubble has been used to keep an eye on Jupiter’s Great Red Spot that might be shrinking, and it also helped to discover the “Sliding Spring” comet, which will fly past Mars in October. One of the Hubble Space Telescope’s most interesting observations was a 1995 time exposure of an apparently empty region of space.
Details of the new finding are published in The Astrophysical Letters Journal.