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The European Southern Observatory Captures Cosmic Flower Using VLT

An image from the European Southern Observatory has revealed a cosmic ‘flower’ captured by their VLT (PHOTO: ESA)

European Southern Observatory’s VLT Captures Stunning Galactic ‘Flower’ Through Gravitational Lensing

The European Southern Observatory’s VLT recently captured an image of a distant galaxy encircled by four flower-like “petals” created by gravitational lensing from a central galaxy.

An image from the European Southern Observatory has revealed a cosmic ‘flower’ captured by their VLT (PHOTO: Universe Today)

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European Southern Observatory Reveals Cosmic ‘Flower’ Around Distant Galaxy

A recent image from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) has revealed a striking celestial scene captured by their Very Large Telescope (VLT). According to a published article in Space, this image portrays a distant galaxy encircled by what seems like four light-blue petals resembling a cosmic flower. However, the real magic here is gravitational lensing, where the central galaxy acts like a cosmic magnifying glass, bending and intensifying the light from a hidden galaxy situated behind it. This process results in multiple, duplicated images of the background galaxy as seen from Earth, creating the beautiful ring of flower-like “petals” surrounding the central orange galaxy.

Gravitational lensing, according to EarthSky, is a fascinating effect that allows us to see far-off celestial objects that would otherwise be hidden by objects in the foreground. In this case, the front galaxy has split the light from the background galaxy into four patches of blue light. These four images form a distinctive pattern known as an “Einstein Cross” or “flower,” thanks to the unique configuration of these two galaxies.

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European Southern Observatory Employed MUSE

These galaxies are ancient residents of the early universe, residing in the Hercules constellation. The European Southern Observatory employed the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) instrument on their VLT, located in Chile, to capture these recent observations. The MUSE instrument analyzes incoming light and, in this case, reveals that the central galaxy appears red due to its aging stars, while the hidden galaxy behind it shines blue, indicating a high rate of star formation.

This image not only offers aesthetic beauty but also a wealth of scientific information, shedding light on the universe’s formation and evolution, making it a remarkable contribution to our understanding of the cosmos.

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