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9 Strangest Objects in the Universe


In Brief

There's no questioning the fact that the universe is weird. Just look outside and you'll see all manner of strange, self-reproducing flora and fauna, crawling upon a blue ball of semimolten rock covered in a thin, hard shell and blanketed by a tenuous film of gases. Yet our own planet represents a tiny fraction of the peculiar phenomena that can be found lurking throughout the cosmos, and every day astronomers turn up new surprises. Here, we take a look at some of the most outlandish objects in space.

2. The Einstein Cross

The Einstein Cross (Q2237+030 or QSO 2237+0305) is a gravitationally lensed quasar that sits directly behind ZW 2237+030, Huchra's Lens. Four images of the same distant quasar (plus one in the centre, too dim to see) appear around a foreground galaxy due to strong gravitational lensing. Another Einstein Cross (J2211-3050) discovery was announced March 18, 2019. While gravitationally lensed light sources are often shaped into an Einstein ring, due to the elongated shape of the lensing galaxy and the quasar being off-centre, the images form a peculiar cross-shape instead.