First ever gravitationally lensed supernova

— a problem for the biblical creationist model?

This image shows the huge galaxy cluster MACS J1149+2223, whose light took over 5 billion years to reach us. The huge mass of the cluster and one of the galaxies within it is bending the light from a supernova behind them and creating four separate images of it. The light has been magnified and distorted due to gravitational lensing and as a result the images are arranged around the elliptical galaxy in a formation known as an Einstein cross. A close-up of the Einstein cross is shown in the inset.

Figure 1: Galaxy cluster MACS J1149+2223,  over 5 billion light-years distant. The huge mass of the cluster and one of the galaxies within it is bends the light from a supernova behind them and creating four separate images (arrows in inset). The light has been magnified and distorted due to gravitational lensing and as a result the images are arranged around the elliptical galaxy in a formation known as an Einstein cross. A close-up of the Einstein cross is shown in the inset. Credit: NASA & ESA

In March 2015  it was reported that “[a]stronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have, for the first time, spotted four images of a distant exploding star. The images are arranged in a cross-shaped pattern by the powerful gravity of a foreground galaxy embedded in a massive cluster of galaxies.”1 See galaxy in inset in Fig. 1, which has been enlarged in Fig. 2.

This image shows four different images of the same supernova whose light has been distorted and magnified by the huge galaxy cluster MACS J1149+2223 in front of it. The huge mass of the cluster and one of the galaxies within it is bending the light from a supernova behind them and creating four separate images of the supernova. The light has been magnified and distorted due to gravitational lensing and as a result the images are arranged around the elliptical galaxy in a formation known as an Einstein cross.

Figure 2: This image shows four different images of the same supernova whose light has been distorted and magnified by the huge galaxy cluster MACS J1149+2223 in front of it. The huge mass of the cluster and one of the galaxies within it is bending the light from a supernova behind them and creating four separate images of the supernova. The light has been magnified and distorted due to gravitational lensing and as a result the images are arranged around the elliptical galaxy in a formation known as an Einstein cross. Credit: NASA & ESA

Astronomers were looking at a massive elliptical galaxy (Fig .2) and its associated galaxy cluster MACS J1149+2223 (Fig. 1), which is supposedly at a distance in the universe such that the light from the galaxy should take more than 5 billion years to reach Earth. They then found something that has never been seen before. The huge mass of the elliptical galaxy and the cluster is believed to bend the light from a much more distant galaxy where a supernova was occurring. The image of the supernova then is seen as an Einstein cross made from 4 separate images of the same supernova, heic1505, also named Refsdal. In Fig. 1 arrows indicate the 4 images. Fig. 1. shows a wide view of the cluster and the elliptical galaxy with the alleged identical 4 supernova images around it.

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