By using the Keck Observatory in Hawai’i, as well as the Very Large Telescope in Chile, scientists managed to confirm the existence of 68 newfound gravitational lenses. A machine learning algorithm was used to discover the gravitational lenses initially. The confirmation of the 68 gravitational lenses comes after analyzing 77 of the ones from the initial batch of a few thousand potential gravitational lenses that were found by the machine learning algorithm, as Phys.org informs.
Understanding more about the evolution of galaxies from the earliest times
Analyzing the gravitational lenses in detail could make astronomers understand more about how galaxies evolved from the most distant times. While the Big Bang occurred about 13.78 billion years ago, scientists generally accept the idea that the first galaxies began to form as little as one billion years later.
Based on their new work, which was conducted by Kim-Vy Tran, an astronomer from ASTRO 3D and UNSW Sydney, along with his colleagues, scientists now realistically assume that there are likely thousands of undiscovered gravitational lenses out there. There’s even a chance that astronomers might use gravitational lenses to detect dark matter. What’s for sure is that these lenses can be used to see distant cosmic objects more clearly.
Tran explained how it works, as Phys.org quotes:
We know that most of the mass is dark,
We know that mass is bending light and so if we can measure how much light is bent, we can then infer how much mass must be there.
The same scientist added, as the same source quotes:
The more magnifying glasses you have, the better chance you can try to survey these more distant objects. Hopefully, we can better measure the demographics of very young galaxies.
Dark matter consists of the most mass that exists in the Universe.
The new study was published in The Astronomical Journal.