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News Release Archive:

News Release 561 of 958

June 27, 2001 02:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2001-20

Hint of Planet-Sized Drifters Bewilders Hubble Scientists

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Image: Gravitational Microlensing Resulting from Planetary-Mass Objects in a Globular Cluster

Gravitational Microlensing Resulting from Planetary-Mass Objects in a Globular Cluster

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Hubble Space Telescope looks for the small, dim inhabitants of a clobular cluster by studying their effect on the light of distant bakground stars in the galaxy's bulge. The gravity of the intervening objects in the cluster briefly amplifies the background stars' image by bending the light waves, as an optical lens does. The mass of the objects can be inferred by the duration of the lensing event: the longer the brightness lasts, the more massive the objects.

Image Type: Illustration

Illustration Credit: Ann Feild (STScI)

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