The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) set out to test the limit of observation which can be reached using the largest optical-infrared telescope in the world: the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS (GTC). The observers managed to obtain an image 10 times deeper than any other obtained from the ground, observing a faint halo of stars around the galaxy UGC0180.
This unusual phenomenon, predicted by Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, was discovered by chance by doctoral student Margherita Bettinelli at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias while analysing images of the Sculptor dwarf galaxy. The “Canarias Einstein ring” is one of the most symmetrical discovered until now and is almost circular.
On 15 June 2015, a long-time acquaintance of X-ray and gamma ray astronomers made its comeback to the cosmic stage: V404 Cygni, a system comprising a black hole and a star orbiting one another. It is located in our Milky Way galaxy, almost 8,000 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus, the Swan.