Astronomers successfully predict appearance of supernova

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

For the first time ever astronomers have been able to predict and photograph the appearance of a supernova, its light focused by the gravitational lensing caused by a galaxy and the dark matter that surrounds it.

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured the image of the first-ever predicted supernova explosion. The reappearance of the Refsdal supernova was calculated from different models of the galaxy cluster whose immense gravity is warping the supernova’s light.

What makes this significant is that the prediction models were based on the theory of gravitational lensing and required the presence of dark matter to work. That they worked and were successful in predicting the appearance of this gravitationally bent light (bent by the dark matter it passed through) is a very strong confirmation of both concepts. Up until now I have been somewhat skeptical of gravitational lensing. This confirmation removes some of that skepticism.



  • mpthompson

    When you say you have been skeptical of gravitational lensing, what are you skeptical about? It seems that gravitational lensing is a fairly well understood phenomena with some spectacular photos of the effect captured by Hubble. Dark matter on the other hand still seems very much a mystery.

  • John

    I was going to ask the same thing. One of Enstein’s truly beautiful predictions confirmed extensively.

    This is quite an accomplishment. I’m wondering if they’re getting useful spectra of the initial blast.

  • Max

    He is right to be skeptical of gravitational lensing. Light bends differently at different wavelengths and is scattered. Without a correction lens to reestablish focus, light is hopelessly scattered and defused. Shine a light into a curved mirror or a prism…
    The new curved TVs scatter background reflections so it does not interfere with the movie picture.
    Any gravity field strong enough to bend light, will also have a time distortion. This will change the lights frequency to a lower level. (Blue light will be made red. Speed or direction does not change the frequency of light, just its amplitude)
    Magnetism also causes resistance. A galaxy with the strong magnetic field would also distort light near it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *