NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has been providing humanity incredible images from space for a quarter of a century, and it might’ve just given us the happiest picture its ever captured.
Thanks to two far away galaxies and something called “strong gravitational lensing”, the Hubble has captured something smiling at us out in space.
What you’re looking at above is a picture of Galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849, according to the European Space Agency. Two galaxies form the “eyes”.
And the smiley mouth? That’s strong gravitational lensing.
From the ESA:
Massive structures in the Universe exert such a powerful gravitational pull that they can warp the spacetime around them and act as cosmic lenses which can magnify, distort and bend the light behind them. This phenomenon, crucial to many of Hubble’s discoveries, can be explained by Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
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.
An earlier version of the image was posted to Flickr by Judy Schmidt in 2012, as part of the Hubble’s Hidden Treasure project.
So cool. For the idiots out there (myself included), however, let’s just say the universe is smiling upon you. How can you have a bad day now?