Hubble Spots Happy Face in Galaxy Cluster SDSS J1038+4849

Posted on February 10, 2015

Happy Face in Galaxy Cluster SDSS J1038+4849

The Hubble Space Telescope has spotted the image of a happy face in galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849. The "happy face" is composed of two eyes which are actually two very bright galaxies.

NASA says the smile lines in the face are arcs caused by an effect known as strong gravitational lensing. NASA says galaxy clusters are massive structures that exert such a powerful gravitational pull that they warp the spacetime around them. NASA says they can "act as cosmic lenses which can magnify, distort and bend the light behind them." The ring-like structure around the galaxy cluster that makes the border of the face is known as an Einstein Ring. It is produced from the bending of light.

The object was studied using Hubble's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) and Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3).

Photo: NASA/ESA, Acknowledgment: Judy Schmidt