Astronomers Find Light-Bending Quasars

"No one has done this before," says George Djorgovski, a professor of astronomy at Caltech and member of the research team. "It would be surprising—but very interesting—if these galaxies turn out to be systematically different from the general galaxy population."

This light-bending effect, called gravitational lensing, is normally seen in the reverse orientation: foreground galaxies distorting the light of background quasars. (Caltech's Fritz Zwicky was the first to propose that gravitational lensing could be used to study distant clusters of galaxies in 1937, but it wasn't until 1979 that astronomers observed the phenomenon in a galaxy cluster that bent the light of a background quasar.)