The 24-Sep-2021 NASA Goddard video Einstein Ring Spotted by Hubble and it's Goddard Media Studio's page Einstein Ring Spotted By Hubble discuss the image, but don't really give credit to how it was produced or how this example of an Einstein ring was first discovered.

There must be a story behind the exposures used to produce this image and the discovery of this beautiful object in the first place.


  1. How was the recently publicized Hubble image of a distant galaxy showing clearly resolved lensed in an Einstein ring produced?
  2. When was it produced?
  3. When were the exposures taken?
  4. What wavelengths were used?
  5. Who (or what AI) first recognized that there was an Einstein ring in the data?

I can see a lot of very overexposed extended objects (galaxies) with diffraction "halos" around them, and a compact object (star?) with distinct diffraction rings.

screenshot from the 24-Sep-2021 NASA Goddard video "Einstein Ring Spotted by Hubble"


1 Answer 1


Phil Plait's blog, Bad Astronomy, answers many of these questions. He reports that it was first spotted in WISE (Wide Field Infra-red Survey Explorer) data looking for Submillimeter bright galaxies, in the AllWISE data, it is just a blob. With follow-up observations by the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX). You can read the journal article but it is behind a paywall, though here is the arXiv preprint and copies at esahubble.org and researchgate. The ring is visible in DSS images

Submillimeter bright galaxies are very distant (this one is at z=1.48) And so are usually quite faint. The lensing makes this submillimeter bright galaxy "ultrabright"

The Hubble image dates from 2015 and is credited to S. Jha, apparently Saurabh Jha, an expert in supernovae. The wavelengths range from near infrared to green. Green is represented by blue, Red by green and infrared by red.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thank you for the well-sourced answer! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Sep 25, 2021 at 16:19

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