News of the WeekAstronomy

Cosmic Lenses May Be Magnifying Quasars

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Science  28 Jun 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5577, pp. 2317-2319
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5577.2317b

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A new study predicts that so-called gravitational lenses are unexpectedly common for the most distant bodies that astronomers see: quasars near the fringes of the visible cosmos. Up to one-third of these remote beacons might be dramatically brightened by the gravity of matter along the way stretching, splitting, and contorting their images. The finding might help resolve a puzzle about how these enigmatic denizens of the early universe came to be.