NASA James Webb Telescope captures stunning ‘Bejeweled’ Einstein ring around distant Quasar- Details

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Nasa’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) recently captured an extraordinary image showcasing an Einstein ring, a luminous loop formed by gravitational lensing around quasar RX J1131-1231, located 6 billion light-years away in Crater constellation.

The Phenomenon of Gravitational Lensing

Gravitational lensing, where light bends due to spacetime curvature caused by massive objects, created this distinct ring effect, as reported by Live Science. The quasar RX J1131-1231, a supermassive black hole at the heart of a young galaxy, emits energetic jets while being lensed by a neighbouring galaxy, visible as a central blue dot within the ring. This lensing not only magnifies the quasar’s view but also duplicates its light, resulting in four bright spots, described by the European Space Agency (ESA) as mirrored images originating from a single source due to gravitational lensing.

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Scientific Significance of Einstein Rings

Einstein rings, exemplified in JWST’s latest capture, are pivotal for astronomical studies, offering amplified views of otherwise obscure distant entities. The lensing effect allows for detailed examination, aiding scientists in understanding celestial properties and behaviours, including the calculation of lensing galaxy masses and dark matter estimation. Dark matter, an enigmatic substance influencing gravity without interacting with light, remains a central subject in modern astrophysics.

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Albert Einstein’s 1915 theory of general relativity initially predicted gravitational lensing, refining astronomers’ ability to utilise these ring formations despite occasional distortions. Previous observations of RX J1131-1231 have revealed such distortions, demonstrating the ongoing fascination and utility of these rings in probing distant cosmic mysteries.

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The JWST image of RX J1131-1231 has provided critical insights, such as enabling researchers in 2014 to determine the supermassive black hole’s spin rate through light analysis. These findings underscore how lensed objects continue to unlock deep cosmic secrets, offering windows into the universe’s hidden realms, including the elusive nature of dark matter.

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