Warped Space text in front of a James Webb Telescope image of SMACS 0723

In the first image NASA released from the Webb telescope, some galaxies look like strings of stretched taffy. That’s because the universe itself has altered our view of the deep cosmos.

Astronomers recently pointed the colossal James Webb Space Telescope at a cluster of galaxies dubbed SMACS 0723. The combined mass of these galaxies warps space, like a bowling ball sitting on a mattress.

This warped space essentially creates a “lens” that we look through. So the light from the galaxies behind this galactic cluster is distorted. It’s an occurrence called “gravitational lensing.”


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