Just a few short years ago, even the thought of capturing an astronomy anomaly with what’s considered an “amateur telescope” was absolutely unthinkable. Who were we to even try to do what great minds postulated and even greater equipment resolved? I’ll tell you who… Bernhard Hubl. Come on inside to meet him and see what he can do!
One of the first great minds to consider the effects of gravitational lensing was Orest Chwolson in 1924. By 1936, Einstein had upped the ante on its existence with his theories. A year later in 1937, the brilliant Fritz Zwicky set the idea in motion that galaxy clusters could act as gravitational lenses. It was not until 1979 that this effect was confirmed by observation of the so-called “Twin QSO” SBS 0957+561… and now today we can prove that it can be observed with a 12″ telescope under the right conditions and a lot of determination.
Bernhard Hubl of Nussbach, Austria is just the kind of astrophotographer to try to capture what might be deemed impossible. “Abell 2218 is a galaxy cluster about 2.1 billion light-years away in the constellation Draco. Acting as a powerful gravitational lens, it magnifies and distorts galaxies lying behind the cluster core into long arcs, as predicted by the General Theory of Relativity.”
Say’s Berhard, “I wanted to know, if I could detect signs of these arcs with a 12″ Newtonian at f=1120mm. After over 12 hours of exposure time under excellent conditions, I know that this is a hard job, but I am glad that I could identify the three brighter arcs.”
And so are we!