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Extraordinary Gravitational Lensing

This Hubble Space Telescope image shows one of the most striking examples of gravitational lensing, a nearly 90-degree arc of light in the galaxy cluster RCS2 032727-132623. Hubble's view of the distant background galaxy, which lies nearly 10 billion light-years away, is significantly more detailed than could ever be achieved without the help of the gravitational lens.

This observation provides a unique opportunity to study the physical properties of a galaxy vigorously forming stars when the universe was only one-third its present age. By reversing the distortion, astronomers has reconstructed approximately what the distant galaxy looks like (see image below).

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