gravitational lens


Definition of gravitational lens

: a massive celestial object (such as a galaxy) that bends and focuses the light of another more distant object (such as a quasar) by gravity and that is usually detected by the multiple images it forms of the second object

Examples of gravitational lens in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The mass of that closer galaxy acts as a gravitational lens, bending SPT0418–47’s rays toward Earth so that ALMA can get a better image. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Astronomers spy a Milky Way–like galaxy in very early universe," 12 Aug. 2020 Their number came from using only two gravitational lenses, which were all that were available. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Universe Might Be 2 Billion Years Younger Than We Thought," 19 Sep. 2019 Jee and her colleagues focused on two objects named B1608+656 and RXJ1131-1231, gravitational lenses that are bending the light from faraway quasars. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "The universe might be acting weird. Cosmic 'lenses' may help reveal why.," 12 Sep. 2019 Black holes have been seen to eat gas and stars and to act as gravitational lenses. Quanta Magazine, "The Double Life of Black Holes," 29 Jan. 2019 Thanks to a powerful telescope on earth and a galaxy acting as a gravitational lens, scientists have been able to observe the quasar despite its distance of 12.8 billion light-years away from Earth. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Have Spotted Some of the Oldest Light in the Universe," 10 Jan. 2019 This process is known today as a gravitational lens. Elizabeth Howell,, "Hubble Telescope Discovers a Light-Bending 'Einstein Ring' in Space," 10 Apr. 2018 Although hundreds of galactic gravitational lenses are known, only a few are sufficiently close by to allow their individual stars to be seen. Maya Miller, Scientific American, "Einstein’s Greatest Theory Validated on a Galactic Scale," 22 June 2018 While the galaxy cluster was acting as a gravitational lens for Refsdel, this one star passed directly in front of Icarus, intensifying the magnifying effect. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Meet Icarus, The Most Distant Star Yet Detected," 3 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gravitational lens.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of gravitational lens

1937, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gravitational lens

Time Traveler for gravitational lens

Time Traveler

The first known use of gravitational lens was in 1937

See more words from the same year

Statistics for gravitational lens

Cite this Entry

“Gravitational lens.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on gravitational lens Encyclopedia article about gravitational lens

Comments on gravitational lens

What made you want to look up gravitational lens? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!