Researchers identified a previously unknown lensed galaxy for the first time in new near-infrared data from the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope.
Examine the white elliptical galaxy on the left. A faint red arc appears in the inset at 10 o’clock. This is a very distant galaxy whose appearance is warped in Webb’s image. Its light is bent by the gravity of the elliptical foreground galaxy. Plus, its appearance is duplicated. The stretched red arc reappears – as a dot – at 4 o’clock.
These images of the lensed galaxy are so faint and so red that they went unrecognised in Hubble data, but are unmistakable in Webb’s near-infrared image. Simulations of gravitationally lensed galaxies like this help researchers reconstruct how much mass is in individual stars, along with how much dark matter is in the core of this galaxy.
This image includes ultraviolet and visible data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
Click here to find out more about the relationship between the two galaxies seen in this image.
Note: This image highlights Webb’s science in progress, which has not yet been through the peer-review process.