Gravitational lensing is an amazing phenomenon that has allowed astronomers to see distant galaxies that are otherwise impossible to observe. This phenomenon occurs when massive objects, such as a galaxy or cluster, bend space and time, working as a natural magnifying glass that brightens the distant objects in the background. Recently, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) took advantage of this phenomenon to discover thousands of distant galaxies by looking at Pandora’s Cluster, also known as Abell 2744.
The Pandora’s Cluster is a galactic megacluster located in the constellation Sculptor, around 4 billion light-years away from Earth. It is a complex, dynamic structure composed of four merging galaxy clusters, each composed of hundreds of galaxies. This megacluster has an estimated mass of one million billion Suns, making it an ideal natural lens to observe the most distant corners of the universe.
Using the JWST, astronomers were able to look through Pandora’s Cluster and see thousands of galaxies that are up to 13 billion light-years away from us. This is like looking back in time, as these galaxies were formed during the early stages of the universe. The JWST was able to observe these galaxies with unprecedented detail, allowing astronomers to gain new insights into the formation and evolution of galaxies in the early universe.
The Pandora’s Cluster is just the beginning of many exciting astronomical discoveries that the JWST will be able to make. This telescope is equipped with the world’s most powerful infrared camera and spectrograph, and its 6.5-meter mirrors make it even more sensitive than the Hubble Space Telescope. With these capabilities, the JWST will make many more amazing discoveries as its mission progresses.