Powerful Picture: Hubble captures face smiling

(MEDIA GENERAL) – Do you ever feel like someone is just smiling down on you? That’s certainly what it looks like from this image captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

It looks like two orange eyes and a white button nose way up in space. In truth, the two eyes are actually very bright galaxies and what looks like a smile are arcs caused by something called “strong gravitational lensing.”

The galaxy cluster is SDSS J1038+4849. Galaxy clusters are the most massive structures in the Universe. In this special case, a ring is produced from a bending of light having to do with the galaxy’s powerful gravitational pull.

A version of this image was entered into the Hubble Hidden Treasures image processing competition by contestant Judy Schmidt. There are thousands of pictures in Hubble’s archive that have only been seen by a few scientists. They are called the “Hidden Treasures.” Every week, the Hubble team processes data into amazing images and publishes them. The archive is so big, in fact, no one really knows everything Hubble has recorded.

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