The Hubble Telescope has stared into the abyss, and the abyss has stared back in the form of a smiling face in space found during a search for new galaxies and stars.
- “Smile” is an arc of light bent by gravity as it passed a massive object
- It was found during a NASA mission to better understand how stars are born
- Hubble Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 is able to view distant galaxies at incredible resolution
In an image posted to NASA’s website, two yellow lights can be seen above an arc of light, painting a smiley face in the middle of a sea of stars.
The arc of light, NASA says, is due to the light passing a massive gravity source, causing it to bend.
“The lower, arc-shaped galaxy has the characteristic shape of a galaxy that has been gravitationally lensed — its light has passed near a massive object en route to us, causing it to become distorted and stretched out of shape,” NASA said.
The face is located in the galaxy cluster SDSS J0952+3434. The image was taken in NASA’s bid to better understand how stars are born.
“Stars are born within giant clouds of gas,” NASA said.
“These massive clouds, or stellar nurseries, grow unstable and begin to collapse under gravity, becoming the seeds that will grow into new stars.
By analysing the luminosity, size and formation rate of different stellar nurseries, scientists hope to learn more about the processes that can lead to the formation of a newborn star.
“Studying nurseries within different galaxies will provide information about star formation at different points in time and space throughout the universe.”
The Hubble Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) is able to view distant galaxies at an incredible resolution, high enough to locate and study regions of star formation.
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