Galaxy Cluster Abell 1689 Deflects Light
(courtesy Astronomy Picture of the Day)
Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), and J. Blakeslee (NRC Herzberg, DAO) & H. Ford (JHU)
Explanation: It is one of the most massive objects in the visible universe. In this view from the Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys, Abell 1689 is seen to warp space as predicted by Albert Einstein's theory of gravity - deflecting light from individual galaxies which lie behind the cluster to produce multiple, curved images. The power of this enormous gravitational lens depends on its mass, but the visible matter, in the form of the cluster's yellowish galaxies, only accounts for about one percent of the mass needed to make the observed bluish arcing images of background galaxies. In fact, most of the gravitational mass required to warp space enough to explain this cosmic scale lensing is in the form of still mysterious dark matter. As the dominant source of Abell 1689's gravity, the dark matter's unseen presence is mapped out by the lensed arcs and distorted background galaxy images. Surprisingly, close inspection of the above image has revealed the presence of over 100,000 globular star clusters in the galaxy cluster. from Astronomy Picture of the Day
A gravitational lens is a distribution of matter (such as a cluster of galaxies) between a distant light source and an observer, that is capable of bending the light from the source as the light travels towards the observer. This effect is known as gravitational lensing, and the amount of bending is one of the predictions of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity. (Classical physics also predicts the bending of light, but only half that predicted by general relativity. Wikipedia, Gravitational Lens
Is this the lensing effect Russell wrote so much about?
Figure 3.4 - Focalizing Lenses at nested Cube faces
Mirrors and Lens of Cosmic Cinema