The PJ Tatler

Is God a Gamer?

Sure looks that way. This image is from the Hubble Telescope:



This adorable image — in which the galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849 seems to be smiling at the camera — comes courtesy of the Hubble Space Telescope. It was spotted by Judy Schmidt, who submitted a version of the image to the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures image processing competition, where anyone can sift through the Hubble’s massive data pools to highlight hitherto ignored sights from the stars.

But don’t worry — that’s probably not a giant, intergalactic Pac-Man, getting ready to devour worlds:

In this case, the cosmic “face” is actually caused by a neat galactic phenomenon as well: gravitational lensing. Large galaxy clusters sometimes produce such a strong gravitational pull that they warp the time and space around them. This can be a great thing for scientists on Earth, because that warping can act as a natural “lens” and magnify faraway objects behind the clusters, making them more visible to space telescopes. But the magnification also warps the objects.

Still — wouldn’t it be cool if it were?