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News Release Archive:

News Release 55 of 1028

March 5, 2015 02:00 PM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-2015-08

Hubble Sees Supernova Split into Four Images by Cosmic Lens

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Image: Supernova Refsdal and Galaxy Cluster MACS J1149.6+2223

Supernova Refsdal and Galaxy Cluster MACS J1149.6+2223STScI-PRC2015-08a

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ABOUT THIS IMAGE:

The powerful gravity of a galaxy embedded in a massive cluster of galaxies in this Hubble Space Telescope image is producing multiple images of a single distant supernova far behind it. Both the galaxy and the galaxy cluster are acting like a giant cosmic lens, bending and magnifying light from the supernova behind them, an effect called gravitational lensing.

The image shows the galaxy's location within a hefty cluster of galaxies called MACS J1149.6+2223, located more than 5 billion light-years away. In the enlarged inset view of the galaxy, the arrows point to the multiple copies of the exploding star, dubbed Supernova Refsdal, located 9.3 billion light-years from Earth. The images are arranged around the galaxy in a cross-shaped pattern called an Einstein Cross. The blue streaks wrapping around the galaxy are the stretched images of the supernova's host spiral galaxy, which has been distorted by the warping of space.

The four images were spotted on Nov. 11, 2014. This Hubble image combines data from three months of observations taken in visible light by the Advanced Camera for Surveys and in near-infrared light by the Wide Field Camera 3.

Object Names: SN Refsdal, MACS J1149.6+2223

Image Type: Astronomical/Annotated

Credit: NASA, ESA, and S. Rodney (JHU) and the FrontierSN team; T. Treu (UCLA), P. Kelly (UC Berkeley), and the GLASS team; J. Lotz (STScI) and the Frontier Fields team; M. Postman (STScI) and the CLASH team; and Z. Levay (STScI)

NEWS RELEASE IMAGES

The above montage includes these images:

Galaxy Cluster MACS J1149.6+2223 and Supernova Refsdal Image Type: Astronomical Galaxy Cluster MACS J1149.6+2223 and Supernova Refsdal Supernova Refsdal (Multiply Imaged and Gravitationally Lensed by Galaxy Cluster) Image Type: Astronomical Supernova Refsdal (Multiply Imaged and Gravitationally Lensed by Galaxy Cluster)

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