News FocusAstronomy

Gravity Teases Details From Ancient Cosmic Birthplaces

Science  31 Jul 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5377, pp. 637
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5377.637

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Summary

By refracting light from the far edge of the universe, gravity is giving astronomers a fine-scale view of the dim clouds that spawned stars and galaxies. The strategy relies on quasars that appear as multiple images in the sky--a sign that the gravity of the foreground galaxy has captured light rays emanating from the quasar on slightly different paths and slung them all toward Earth. The technique could ultimately free astronomers who want to understand the universe's early days from having to depend on the few objects that can be seen directly, such as quasars or especially bright galaxies.

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