Alex O'Brien

News

Thu, 12 Feb, 2015

There’s a beaming face smiling at earth from a distant galaxy

There’s a beaming face smiling at earth from a distant galaxy

Hubble scientists recently discovered a galaxy cluster – also known as massive structures that exert a gravitational pull strong enough to warp the spacetime around them. This galaxy cluster resembles a face with two bright eyes, a button nose and a smile.

The curving image that resembles a grin is an effect called gravitational lensing, which is essentially light bending. Here's how NASA explains it:

“In this special case of gravitational lensing, a ring – known as an Einstein Ring – is produced from this bending of light, a consequence of the exact and symmetrical alignment of the source, lens and observer and resulting in the ring-like structure we see here.”

The Hubble Space Telescope orbits Earth at about five miles per second; a complete spin takes 97 minutes. The Hubble routinely delivers these images from deep space, helping us further understand big concepts like the age of our universe.

One of Hubble’s most famous images is called the eXtreme Deep Field, the farthest-ever view of the universe, which reveals thousands of galaxies billions of light years away.

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