Smiles from the Most Distant Galaxies in the Universe

When it comes to overwhelming sizes, there’s no place like space. Astronomers estimate there are 200 billion galaxies in the observable universe, and each of these galaxies contains a similar number of stars. With so many galaxies come some very entertaining findings – including this galaxy cluster which closely resembles a smiley face! The yellow eyes of the face are two spheroidal galaxies with large numbers of stars that were formed very early in the history of the universe. These eyes act as cosmic ‘lenses’, bending and magnifying light from distant galaxies to create the smile and outline of the face. Lenses such as these provide us with a clear view of ‘infant galaxies’ very early in the history of the universe.

A smiling lens

NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope of the galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849.

Guest post by R. Davies, A. Zovaro

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