A team of astronomers, working for NASA, have reported that they’ve made an astonishing discovery. By their powers combined, Hubble and Spitzer discovered the faintest galaxy in our known Universe. The team’s efforts were documented and drafted in a study, that was published on the 3rd of December in the journal of Astrophysics.
The celestial object, discovered by using the lensing power of the two high-powered telescopes, named Hubble and Spitzer, is a star cluster, nicknamed Tayna by the team of researchers. Its name is not accidental because Tayna means “life-giver” or “mother”. That is because, at the very heart of this newly-discovered faint galaxy, stands a star-producing core, which is still active.
Taking a few step back in time, let’s take a look at how the galaxy was actually discovered. Enrolled in the Frontier Fields program, the astronomers were tasked with observing the MAC416.I-2403 galaxy cluster, located at 4 billion light years from Earth. From their estimations, it would seem that massive star-producing galaxy has the a million billion times the mass of our own Sun.
The reason why Hubble and Spitzer discovered the faintest galaxy is due to Tayna’s light-bending skills. Apparently, Tayna has the ability to bend and actually magnify the light coming from other objects. The celestial formation has been discovered thanks to a modern technique known as gravitational lensing.
This particular technique refers to a certain distribution of matter between a far away source and the observer. Moreover, the source of this light is capable of actually bending it. Light bending was initially predicted by Albert Einstein in his works regarding the theory of relativity.
When it comes to gravitational lensing, there is also a taxonomy. Apparently, there are three types of gravitational lenses effects. The first one is called strong lensing, where the observer can see the distortion caused by light-bending very clear. This type of phenomenon is consistent with any number of formations such as Einstein’s rings.
The second type of gravitational lensing is called weak lensing, and it refers to the fact that the distortions are very faint. Thus, in order to clean it out, you will need to study larger groups in order to see how the light is actually bent.
The last category of gravitational lensing bears the name of microlensing. This type of gravitational lensing occurs when the observer cannot find any traces of distortions, although the light coming from the source is altered somehow.