NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, which is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary, still produces new discoveries.
By observing the distant Universe, Hubble reveals galaxies from all cosmic time.
However, even with phenomenally deep views, most galaxies still remain undiscovered.
The light spreads as the distance increases, making the first galaxies too faint for most observatories.
Furthermore, the expansion of the Universe stretches the wavelength of light, displacing it out of the visible range.
However, Einstein’s idea of massive curvature space often helps.
The intermediate concentrations of matter between us and a distant object can stretch, distort and magnify its light.
This phenomenon – strong gravitational lenses – reveals objects that would otherwise be too faint and distant to be seen.
A decade ago, the Herschel (infrared) and Planck (microwave) observatories combined to identify candidates for galaxies with lenses.
Follow-up observations, made with Hubble, finally revealed its details.
Here, a background galaxy (PLCK G045.1 + 61.1) appears as multiple red dots, with lenses in a massive foreground group.
It is a star-forming galaxy, appearing just 1.9 billion years after the Big Bang.
The stars within are intrinsically blue; The red color arises from the cosmic expansion.
Using similar techniques, NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope will tear apart our first records of galaxies.
Mostly Mute Monday tells an astronomical story in pictures, images and no more than 200 words. Talk less; smile more.