Tags: hubble | finds | smiley | face | photo

Hubble Finds Smiley Face Among the Stars (Photo)

By    |   Tuesday, 10 Feb 2015 06:32 PM

The Hubble Space Telescope found a grinning smiley face outlined in the stars and snapped a picture of the happy accident.

Even though it seems like a smiley face, the European Space Agency explained what caused the phenomenon in more technical terms.

“You can make out its two orange eyes and white button nose. In the case of this ‘happy face,’ the two eyes are very bright galaxies and the misleading smile lines are actually arcs caused by an effect known as strong gravitational lensing,” the agency said.

But that's not nearly as much fun as a smiley face, and the Internet went along with a less science-based reasoning.





The unique astronomical formation was first reported in 2012 by Judy Schmidt. She posted a photo on her Flickr account with the caption, “It looks happy.”

At the time, her dad asked, “This is a great photo. Where did you take it at? Is the bright star a planet?”

Schmidt answered, “Dad, this was taken by Hubble. I just processed the data from the archive. The spikey stars are from our galaxy and the rest of the bright spots are other galaxies. There are no planets.”

For budding scientists or amateur astrologers, ESA went into additional detail about the phenomenon: “Galaxy clusters are the most massive structures in the Universe and exert such a powerful gravitational pull that they warp the spacetime around them and act as cosmic lenses which can magnify, distort and bend the light behind them. ... 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.”

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The Hubble Space Telescope found a grinning smiley face outlined in the stars and snapped a picture of the happy accident.
hubble, finds, smiley, face, photo
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2015-32-10
Tuesday, 10 Feb 2015 06:32 PM
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