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Gravitational Lensing

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1. Gravitational Lensing
X-rays and other forms of light from distant objects such as this galaxy can be bent by the gravitational field of an intervening galaxy. This bending can produce multiple images of the same source. These images will in general be magnified by different amounts, so can appear to have different brightnesses. (Credit: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)
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2. Gravitational Lensing Explanation
This illustration explains how gravitational lensing, a prediction of Einstein's theory of general relativity, can be used to determine the location of mass in a galaxy cluster. Gravity from mass in the galaxy cluster distorts light from background galaxies. In the idealized case shown here, two distorted images of one background galaxy are seen above and below the real location of the galaxy. By looking at the shapes of many different background galaxies, it is possible to make a map showing where the gravity and therefore the mass in the cluster is located. This is an excellent technique for studying dark matter.(Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)
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3. Gravitational Lensing
X-rays and other forms of light from a distant quasar can be bent by the gravitational field of an intervening galaxy. This bending can produce multiple images of the same quasar. These images will in general be magnified by different amounts, so will in general appear to have different brightness. Note that the lensing galaxy is often very dim or invisible. (Credit: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)

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4. Illustration of Gravitational Lensing Effect
Single cosmic objects may appear as multiple images to astronomers through a process known as gravitational lensing. This effect occurs when the gravitational field of one or more foreground galaxies bends and magnifies light from a much more distant object to produce multiple images, as shown in the artist's rendering. In the case of the Cloverleaf quasar, Chandra's X-ray view found four separate images of this single object that is 11 billion light years away. (Credit: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)

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