THE WEIGHT OF A STAR: EINSTEIN’S IMPOSSIBLE HOPE FINALLY ACHIEVED BY SCIENTISTS

This illustration, which reveals how the gravity of a white dwarf star warps space and bends the light of a distant star behind it, accompanies a new report calculating the mass of a star using gravity and bent light.NASA, ESA, AND A. FEILD (STSCI)

Kailash Chandra Sahu, an astronomer with the Space Telescope Science Institute, and colleagues used the Hubble Space Telescope to search among more than 5,000 stars for a precise and slight asymmetric alignment between two stars. This alignment, the researchers knew, would result in what is known as an “asymmetrical Einstein ring.” In an Einstein ring, a circle of light forms by one star passing in front of another from our vantage point. An asymmetrical Einstein ring occurs when these two stars are just offset. That arrangement, if they could find it, would allow them to determine the mass of the star in front.

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