James Webb Space Telescope nearly perfectly captures the ‘Einstein ring’

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James Webb Space Telescope nearly perfectly captures the ‘Einstein ring’
A near-perfect Einstein ring from the galaxy JO418. (Image Credit: Spaceguy44 via Reddit)

A nearly perfect “Einstein ring” has been captured by the James Webb Space Telescope. Einstein ring is created when light from a galaxy, star, or other light-emitting cosmic entity passes close to a huge object before it reaches the Earth, or in this case, the Webb telescope.

If the source, lens, and observer element are all perfectly matched, gravitational lensing causes the light to be diverted in this condition, and this light then appears as a ring. The light from the galaxy SPT-S J041839-4751.8, which is around 12 billion light-years away from Earth and one of the oldest galaxies in the cosmos, was used to create this particular example.

From Webb‘s perspective, this galaxy is situated right behind another galaxy whose gravitational pull is so strong that it warps space and time. This foreground galaxy is the blue object in the ring’s center. The light from the background galaxy must cross the warped space-time close to the foreground galaxy on its way to the Webb telescope. The light seems to be a curved ring because of this.

According to Space.com, this image was shared by Reddit user Spaceguy44 on the platform’s r/Astronomy community. According to the user’s Reddit bio, Spaceguy44 is a grad student studying astronomy.

The James Webb Space Telescope‘s MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument) was used to take the picture. The Reddit user downloaded the Webb telescope data and used software suites, including Astropy, to process and color correct it. GIMP, a free Photoshop alternative, was used for additional editing.