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The universe, it seems, is pretty pleased with the Hubble Space Telescope. I mean, just look at that smile!
The smiley face is actually a trick of gravity and light. Two brilliant galaxies form the eyes while a third, distorted galaxy forms the "smile." [The Hubble Space Telescope's Greatest Discoveries] The arc of that smile is due to gravitational lensing, as NASA and the European Space Agency explained in a statement: "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." This Hubble Space Telescope photo shows a wide view of the galaxy cluster SDSS J0952+3434, which includes three that form a cosmic smiley face. This Hubble Space Telescope photo shows a wide view of the galaxy cluster SDSS J0952+3434, which includes three that form a cosmic smiley face. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgment: Judy Schmidt (geckzilla)
what looks like a cosmic smiley face in this photo from the Hubble telescope. It's especially poignant given the troubles the aging Hubble had recently when balky gyroscopes knocked the space telescope offline for weeks until a fix could be devised. (That fix succeeded, and Hubble is back in action.) And so, the universe smiled.
The Hubble Space Telescope's premier camera has shut down because of a hardware problem.
"NASA is trying to pull together the team to try to diagnose the issue," [Cheryl ] Gundy [NASA spokesperson] said Wednesday.
"We would like to have Hubble back up and working as quickly as possible, and NASA is making that happen," even with the partial government shutdown, she added.
You ever get the feeling that you're just a tiny, insignificant speck floating free in the vast ocean of our universe? If the answer is "no" then you haven't been spending enough time on the Hubble Space Telescope's YouTube channel. A video posted late last month offers a detailed view of one of our Milky Way's neighbors, the Whirlpool Galaxy. The three-minute assemblage of photos and 3D visualizations breaks down the anatomy of the galaxy using data pulled from three sources. Hubble itself only captured the visual imagery, actual photographs. The video's infrared imaging comes from the Spitzer Space Telescope, while the x-ray imaging comes from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. Captions in the video guide viewers through a process of peeling away the Whirlpool Galaxy's layers, and looking at them across different spectral bands and wavelengths. It's informative! And also pretty. Space gives good pictures. Just mind the abundance of existential minefields.