NASA’s Hubble Telescope recently discovered a friendly sign in the sky. This image was initially entered into the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures image processing competition by contestant Judy Schmidt.

This smiley face was actually a pair of galaxies making up the eyes and a mouth, caused by an effect known as “strong gravitational lensing.”

On NASA’s website, they describe how this effect is created:

 

A ring — known as an Einstein Ring — is produced from this bending of light, a consequence of the exact and symmetrical alignment of the source, lens and observer and resulting in the ring-like structure we see here.

 

But enough of the science. It’s best to just think of this as the Universe shooting us a quick and friendly smile.

A smiling lens

©NASA & ESA