In a photo posted on NASA’s website and Twitter, the administration showed a real example of a breathtaking phenomenon once conjectured only in theory.
An Einstein ring is created when light from a galaxy or star passes by a massive object en route to the Earth. Because of an effect called "gravitational lensing", light looks to come from different places. If the source, lens, and observer are all properly aligned, we see a circle of light as the light behind the object warps and bends around it.
The effect was predicted in Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity. Light from a source traveling in a straight line is bent by the presence of a massive body.
A story in Forbes details the fascinating account of how Einstein actually proved his theory showing the existence of these rings.
Setting out to prove Einstein, astronomers from Britain traveled to Africa and Brazil to measure the exact position of stars in the Hyades star cluster in the constellation of Taurus.
A total solar eclipse was visible from Peru to Mozambique, right across South America, the Atlantic Ocean, and southern Africa. The eclipse plunged a narrow path across the planet into darkness for a few minutes. Astronomers and scientists were dispatched to various places along the track taking photos of the star cluster to compare to photos taken six months earlier.
The totality on May 29, 1919, lasted six minutes 51 seconds. It was the longest solar eclipse since May 27, 1416. On Príncipe, it lasted 5 minutes 12 seconds. Ultimately, photos from both locations showed light bending in the cluster proving the effect and clinching Einstein's eternal claim to scientific fame.
GAL-CLUS-022058s is the largest and one of the most complete Einstein rings ever discovered in our universe. The object has been nicknamed by astronomers studying this Einstein ring as the "Molten Ring"
The gravity of the galaxy cluster in this image warped and magnified the image of the background galaxy. The gravity from other galaxies in the cluster causes additional distortions.