Einstein revisited

Esahubble_potw1724a_500

esahubble_potw1724a June 12th, 2017

Credit: NASA, ESA, and K. Sahu (STScI)

A century ago, Albert Einstein published his famous theory of relativity. He proposed that all objects physically warp the fabric of space, with larger masses producing a more pronounced effect, and very massive objects (such as the Sun) causing light to travel along curved paths through space. Such an effect was first observed during the 1919 solar eclipse by English astronomer Arthur Eddington. Researchers had to wait a century, however, to get a telescope powerful enough to detect this gravitational microlensing caused by a star outside the Solar System. Even around objects with very large masses, such as stars, this effect is very slight, making such detections extremely challenging for ground-based telescopes. It is, however, within the capabilities of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, which gathered the data comprising this Picture of the Week. The bright star in the centre of the image is the nearby white dwarf Stein 2051B, only 17 light-years from Earth. The smaller star below is about 5000 light-years away. Astronomers observed Stein 2051B eight times within two years while the white dwarf travelled in front of of the distant background star. During the close alignment, the white dwarfs gravity bent the light from the distant star, making it appear offset by about 2 milliarcseconds from its actual position. This deviation is so small that it is equivalent to observing an ant crawl across the surface of a 1 coin from 2300 kilometres away. Links: Binary star system Stein 2051 (annotated) Hubble measures deflection of starlight by a foreground Object Release on Hubblesite

Image Source: https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1724a/

Curator: ESA/Hubble, Garching bei München, Germany

Image Use Policy: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
Stein 2051
Subject - Milky Way
Star » Evolutionary Stage » White Dwarf
Esahubble_potw1724a_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 4h 31m 15.0s
DEC = 58° 58’ 13.8”
Orientation
North is up
Field of View
0.4 x 0.3 arcminutes
Constellation
Camelopardalis

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_orange Hubble Space Telescope (WFC3) Optical (I) 814.0 nm
Arrow_left_cyan Hubble Space Telescope (WFC3) Optical (V) 606.0 nm
Spectrum_base
Arrow_top_orange
Arrow_top_cyan
Esahubble_potw1724a_1280
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ID
potw1724a
Subject Category
B.3.1.7  
Subject Name
Stein 2051
Credits
NASA, ESA, and K. Sahu (STScI)
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1724a/
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Distance Notes
paper
Facility
Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope
Instrument
WFC3, WFC3
Color Assignment
Orange, Cyan
Band
Optical, Optical
Bandpass
I, V
Central Wavelength
814, 606
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
J2000
Reference Value
67.8123364409, 58.9704866961
Reference Dimension
3000.0, 2000.0
Reference Pixel
600.0, 450.0
Scale
-2.1871708995886981E-06, 2.1871708995886981E-06
Rotation
-0
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Position
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
ESA/Hubble
URL
http://www.spacetelescope.org
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2
City
Garching bei München
State/Province
Postal Code
D-85748
Country
Germany
Rights
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher
ESA/Hubble
Publisher ID
esahubble
Resource ID
potw1724a
Metadata Date
2017-05-23T14:01:26-04:00
Metadata Version
1.1
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

 

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There is no distance meta data in this image.