A supernova four billion light years from Earth has been captured from four different angles in a stunning world first.
The strange phenomenon was possible because light from the exploding star bent through a galaxy before reaching Earth.
The intervening galaxy, which sits 2 billion light years from Earth, magnified the explosion’s brightness 50 times to give astronomers an unprecedented view of the Type 1a supernova, which the team have called ‘iPTF16geu’.
WHY WAS THE SUPERNOVA SEEN FROM FOUR POINTS?
Galaxies bend light through an effect called ‘gravitational lensing’ that helps astronomers peer deeper into the cosmos.
One of the foundations of Einstein’s theory of general relativity is that mass curves the surrounding space-time.
In the case of a galaxies the gravitational field can bend and focus light like a magnifying glass.