Hubble Telescope Spots Smiley Face Galaxy Cluster

February 10, 2015


This is a shot of the galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849 (cool name). The eyes are two individual galaxies, while the ring of the face and mouth were caused by the bending of light due to the incredible mass of the galaxy cluster. Your astronomy lesson for the day while I pretend to grade papers but really practice drawing dinosaurs with penises:

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. 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.

Did you read that? Galaxy clusters have such a gravitational pull they WARP SPACETIME. Do you think that would be a cool superpower to have? What could being able to warp spacetime do for you? I mean, it SOUNDS promising, but if I had to choose right now I think I'd still stick with being able to fly, just to be safe. When it comes to superpowers, I like to know what I'm getting myself into. I'm looking at you, everything I touch turns to steel! *gets boner, shatters desk*

Thanks to CJ, who agrees it's only a matter of time till we spot a frowny face galaxy cluster with X's for eyes.

  • Tony Budz

    So are we looking into a wormhole here, sure looks like one to me?

  • TheDR

    Don't panic.

  • AtomicAcorn

    That looks terrifyingly similar to the light distortion caused by black holes in Space Engine.


  • Geeky reader

    That's surprising, GW. I would have thought the superpower you would choose would be to travel through time. You know, so you could bang dinos.

  • Andrew Newton

    I'm glad we live in an age where we can succumb to interstellar pareidolia.

  • Frédéric Purenne

    Upvoted for making me google a new word.

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