Macro and microlensing

This animation shows the principle of macro- and microlensing. In "macrolensing", a galaxy plays the role of a cosmic magnifying glass or a natural telescope, an effect that was predicted by Albert Einstein as a consequence of his theory of general relativity. The light from a distant quasar is bent in its path and magnified by the gravitational field of the lensing galaxy. This proves very useful in astronomy as it allows us to observe distant objects that would otherwise be too faint to explore using currently available telescopes. In addition to macrolensing by the galaxy, stars in the lensing galaxy act as secondary lenses to produce an additional magnification. This secondary magnification is based on the same principle as macrolensing, but on a smaller scale, and since stars are much smaller than galaxies, is known as "microlensing". As the stars are moving in the lensing galaxy, the microlensing magnification also changes with time. From Earth, the brightness of the quasar images (four in the case of the Einstein Cross) flickers around a mean value, due to microlensing.



Over de video

Publicatiedatum:12 december 2008
Gerelateerde berichten:eso0847
Duur:49 s
Frame rate:30 fps

Over het object

Naam:Gravitational Microlensing
Type:Unspecified : Cosmology : Phenomenon : Lensing



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