A team of scientists has discovered the brightest galaxy, known from the epoch when the universe had 20 percent of its present age, using an amplified image produced by a gravitational lens and the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS.
The galaxy is 10 thousand million light years away.
The discovery, recently published in an article in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, shows that the distant galaxy is about a thousand times brighter than the Milky Way.
“Thanks to the gravitational lens produced by a cluster of galaxies between ourselves and the source, which acts as if it was a telescope, the galaxy appears 11 times bigger and brighter than it really is, and appears as several images on an arc centred on the densest part of the cluster, which is known as an ‘Einstein Ring’,” first author of the article Anastasio Daz Snchez said.
According to Einstein’s theory of General Relativity when a ray of light passes close to a very massive object, the gravity of the object attracts the photons and deviates them from their intial path.
This phenomenon, known as gravitational lensing, is comparable to that produced by lenses on light rays, and acts as a sort of magnifier, changing the size and intensity of the apparent image of the original object.