Monday, June 12, 2017

"Good Night, Moon"

The waning gibbous

17 day old moon

94.2 percent lit

Einstein's Theory of Relativity wins the attention of scientists once again. The phenomena of bending light has existed from the beginning of the vast universe, but, this is the first time it was captured for scientific study and investigation.

June 7, 2017
By Nadia Drake

A Hubble Space Telescope picture shows what's known as an Einstein ring, when one galaxy bends and magnifies the light from a more distant one, as predicted by Einstein's general theory of relativity. Astronomers have now used Hubble to see light from one star being bent by another in an experiment the famed physicist himself thought would be impossible to perform.

...Recently, Hubble (click here) spied a dead star about 18 light-years away warping the light of a more distant star that appeared to pass behind it. Einstein predicted this effect would happen based on his general theory of relativity, but he then claimed scientists had “no hope” of actually seeing it.

Of course, he wrote that dour phrase nearly 60 years before humans launched a rather impressive piece of hardware into Earth’s orbit.

Now, Hubble has managed to witness the spectacle, and astronomers were able to read clues carried in the curved starlight and discern the mass of the dead star, called Stein 2051B. The result perfectly matches a prediction of the star’s mass made a century ago.

“I have been thinking of this problem for many years. We were not sure if we could succeed, but it was definitely worth trying,” says Kailash Sahu of the Space Telescope Science Institute (click here), lead author of a report describing the observation published today in the journal Science....

Just as a side note, the "Space Telescope Science Institute" is in Baltimore, Maryland and operated by NASA, not by Russia.