Has Hubble found the Culprit?

Recall that some years ago the Hubble telescope found a rude message in the sky:

Carina Hubble Image

It is said that many were offended by this sign. Some even thought it may have been left by their God as a sort of crude final message for those seeking meaning in the skies. Other, perhaps less imaginative people just figured it’s a random combination of shapes people are projecting onto.

Well, after much more searching through the sky for the perpetrator of the crime, it seems that the Hubble instrument may have caught a suspect on camera:
A smiling lens

Of course, until the entity is brought in for questioning, it should be granted the presumption of innocence. (And even if it was its hand, it may have all been a big celestial misunderstanding…)


P.S. The first NASA/ESA Hubble image is from a detail of gas clouds in the Carina nebula, and more can be found out about it here.

In the second NASA/ESA Hubble image the arcs of a circle that form the “head” shape are actually a gravitational lensing effect. 100 years ago this year Einstein published his General Relativity which shows, among other things, that light is bent by gravity. This means that the light from distant objects can be distorted in its path to use when it passes by other objects on its way to us. Just like the lenses in your glasses (or in your eyes) do to light on its way to the back of your eyes. So shapes of distant objects (such as galaxies in this case) can get distorted, sometimes into ring shapes of the sort seen here. More can be found here.

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14 Responses to Has Hubble found the Culprit?

  1. Mark Peifer says:

    Thanks–I needed a good laugh today. Hope the baby, mom and dad are thriving.