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Science / Medicine : 'Einstein's Ring' Sighting Told

November 09, 1987

Four French astronomers have claimed a world first with the observation deep in space of the first "Einstein's Ring," a rare optical phenomenon predicted by the great physicist.

The effect, also know as a gravitational lens, is created by the ability of an enormous mass to bend light into the apparent shape of a ring, Yannick Mellier of the Toulouse, France, Observatory told reporters.

Mellier, working at an international observatory in the clear air of the high Andes mountains in Chile, said his team had established that an arc of light seen through a telescope in Hawaii in 1985 was the first known example of the phenomenon.

The ring was visible around a giant galaxy similar to the Milky Way, located about seven billion light years away from Earth, he said.

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