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A Five Quasar Gravitational Lens

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A Five Quasar Gravitational Lens

What's happening near the center of this cluster of galaxies?

At first glance, it appears that several strangely
elongated galaxies and fully five bright
quasars exist there.

In reality, an entire cluster of galaxies is acting as a
gigantic gravitational lens that distorts and multiply-images bright objects that occur far in the distance.

The five bright white points near the cluster center are actually images of a single distant

This Hubble Space Telescope
image is so detailed that even the
host galaxy surrounding the quasar is visible.

>Close inspection of the
above image will reveal that the arced galaxies at 2 and 4 o'clock are actually
gravitationally lensed
images of the same galaxy.

A third image of that galaxy
can be found at about 10 o'clock from the cluster center.

Serendipitously, numerous
strange and distant galaxies dot the above image like
colorful jewels.

The cluster of galaxy that acts as the huge gravitational lens is cataloged as SDSS J1004+4112 and lies about 7 billion
light years
distant toward the
constellation of
Leo Minor.

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