Smiling Galaxies Look Happy But Are Actually Totally Indifferent To Your Existence
“It’s a big ass, sky,” as Billy Bob Thornton once said in Armageddon. So big that we occasionally see clusters of entire galaxies that have never before been photographed. That led to the image below, courtesy of the Hubble Space Telescope.
According to NASA and the European Space Agency, who co-manage the Hubble, the two orange eyes are the galaxies, SDSSCGB 8842.3 and SDSSCGB 8842.4. Why such weird names? Because there are a lot of freaking galaxies out there — way too many to go with real names. (“Okay, you’ll be Jane B. and you’ll be Jane S.”)
The smiles aren’t actually there at all — they’re called by an effect called Strong Gravitational Lensing, which is a bend in space-time, creating a form of lens, caused by the massive gravitational pull of the galaxies within them.
Even though it’s recognizable appearance is a complete coincidence, the thought of having a cluster of galaxies smiling down on us is pleasant, so it’s worth meme-ifying it!