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Gravitational Lensing  

A gravitational lens is a massive celestial object whose gravitational forces bend and reflect light that passes by, causing background objects to appear distorted. The ghostly “ring” of dark in the galaxy cluster Cl 0024+17, 2.6 million light years across, is one of the strongest pieces of evidence for dark matter. Astronomers believe that the ring was created when two galaxy clusters collided and left a ripple of dark matter, which now warps the light of distant galaxies behind it. The second image, produced by the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, depicts the mass distribution in this same cluster. It basically shows how normal graph paper would be distorted if it was placed behind this particular gravitational lens, and therefore demonstrates how much these distant galaxies are actually distorted. The LSST aims to reconstruct the detailed mass distribution of the universe, which will help scientists understand the nature and distribution of dark matter, and its role in galaxy formation.

Large Synoptic Survey Telescope:

Rich Pollett's profile photoAli Adelstein's profile photoFred Gandt's profile photoMark Bruce's profile photo
You're really pouring out some top notch posts Rich.
Glad to be on the receiving end!
Very kind of you Fred, I'm glad you're enjoying them.
I really am. Don't think this is a bad thing, but I have to force myself a little. I'm one of those "little about lots" kinda guys.
My tastes and knowledge are spread wide and thin. So some of this is like diving in the deep end a bit.
What's awesome about them is that you did all the hard work (that sounds so lame and lazy. I'm a little ashamed I just said that), so I get a bracing dip without having to hunt for the pool(s).
I'm very grateful.

+Google+ could do with a way to create albums of posts.
Can we already do that? Like a YouTube playlist kinda thing :-)
I suppose they might suggest creating a page. I like my idea better.
I can relate Fred as there are countless researchers out there working diligently then reporting and publishing their findings. I'm delighted as I consider them the people who have done so much of the "heavy lifting" for myself. :)
Thanks Rich. I will take a look soon. Actually booted and wearing jacket, so dog is eager! Got to go.
Thanks Ali. I will take a look at those too.

My dog swam and rolled and tramped, and now stinks!
That second image screams computational irreducibility at me!
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