Many wonder if there really is life out there. Life out in space other than the human existence here on Earth, and it’s often a huge topic of discussion as to whether or not there are aliens out there trying to reach us. Through the use of the Hubble Space Telescope, a smiley face has been spotted out in the universe and some are already wondering if someone or something is trying to make contact.
The Washington Post reported that the image is actually the galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849, and it certainly appears to be smiling right back at the camera in the Hubble Space Telescope.
Maybe it’s not some alien life form, and maybe it is just a cluster of stars caught together at just the right moment for a smiley face. Whatever it is, it’s brought a lot of happiness to the world of social media.
— Space Trends (@Spaceolizer) February 9, 2015
Judy Schmidt actually spotted the image and submitted it to the Hubble‘s Hidden Treasures image processing competition. This allows anyone and everyone to look through Hubble’s gigantic collection of data and possibly see something amazing.
According to IFL Science, the smiley face happens to be a collection of a few things.
The eyes are two distant, bright galaxies and happen to fall perfectly in the right places. The lines making up the smile and facial outline are arcs created by an effect that is known as strong gravitational lensing.
Believe it or not, galaxy clusters are some of the most massive structures in the universe and they are strong. Actually, they’re capable of exerting gravitational pulls so strong that it actually warps the spacetime around them.
With that sort of strength, they can distort, magnify, or even bend light that is behind them. In this case, the bending of light from a faraway source produced the ring-life structure that is called an Einstein Ring.
Humans are really good at spotting the human face, and such is the case in the smiley face caught in the Hubble Space Telescope. Sure, it may not be an exact replica, but Judy Schmidt was drawn to this particular image because it is familiar to her.
The smiley face that was captured and collected in the data of the Hubble Space Telescope may not be alien contact or anything more than an amazing phenomenon. Still, it’s something that makes the world think and wonder if there is someone out there trying to send a message.
[Image via NASA & ESA/Judy Schmidt]