NASA spots giant ‘smiling face’ in galaxy cluster

19


This group of galaxies can’t help but grin.

NASA recently shared a photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope that shows a formation of galaxies forming what looks like a smiley face.

“Can you find the smiling face in this patch of space, captured by @NASAHubble?” the space agency asked in a Friday tweet, after posting a photo of the incredible sight.

Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) took the photo showing the various galaxies, mainly belonging to a galaxy cluster known as SDSS J0952+3434, according to the NASA news release. Sky watchers also got some context behind the “beaming” expression caught on camera.

“Just below center is a formation of galaxies akin to a smiling face,” NASA explained. “The lower, arc-shaped galaxy has the characteristic shape of a galaxy that has been gravitationally lensed — its light has passed near a massive object en route to us, causing it to become distorted and stretched out of shape.”

NASA said the photo was taken to understand the way new stars become active in the heavens.

It’s not the first time the telescope has snapped a “smiley face.” In February 2015, NASA announced Hubble photographed a galaxy cluster known as SDSS J1038+4849, which also looked like it had eyes and smile lines.

NASA partners with the European Space Agency (ESA) on the telescope, which is managed from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Launched in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has made more than 1.3 million observations of stars, galaxies, black holes and other celestial targets, including some that are more than 13 billion light-years away.

SHARE