Shipman, Harry L. Department of Physics, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware.
Last reviewed:November 2019
- Action of gravity
- Discovery of lenses
- Dark matter
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A massive body producing distorted, magnified, or multiple images of more distant objects when its gravitational fields bend the paths of light rays. Lenses have been observed when the light from very distant quasars is affected by intervening galaxies and clusters of galaxies, producing several different images of the same quasar. A. Einstein predicted the occurrence of this phenomenon in 1936, but the discovery of real gravitational lenses did not occur until 1979. Gravitational lenses, in addition to being intrinsically interesting, can reveal the intrinsic properties of galaxies, active galaxies, and quasars, and provide information on the universe and its contents, including dark matter.
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