The Smiling Lens by Josh Smith, Craig Smith & Eric Coles

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This weeks IOTW goes to Josh Smith, Craig Smith & Eric Coles for their collaboration on the Smiling Lens

This was a fun collaboration between myself, my dad, and Eric Coles. I captured about 90 lum frames in the Keys before during and after the WSP, Eric Coles captured a similar amount of lum frames at SRO, and my dad captured about 40 frames of color to add to this. Eric’s lum and mine generated a very similar snr as well as very similar details and resolution and we were able to clean it up some by essentially doubling down on the integration time. I may decide to spend some more time on this field, but for now, I was just very excited to get the Smiling Lens… The special box shows a super high resolution version of the image compared to Hubble’s image. Also, special thanks to Eric Coles and Craig Smith for joining me on this project!

Somehow, I forgot to mention this before and am now adding it. For this target, I’ve been working on it for months from home in my red/white zone. I collected 376×10 min lum frames, 115×10 min NIR frames, and 115×10 min rgb frames only to figure out that I can’t get it. I literally threw out the entire lot because in the first two hours of data at a only moderately dark site in the keys, it was far cleaner than all of the above. Lesson learned, some targets don’t work in light pollution 🙂

My data was collected with TEC 140 native, QSI 690, and Mach 1.
Craig Smith’s data was collected with TEC 140 reduced with AP TCC, QSI 690 and AP 1100.
Eric Cole’s data was collected with RCOS 16″, SBig STXL 11002, and ChronosHD32

As always, thanks for looking and your C&C’s are much appreciated.

From the

You can make out two orange eyes and a white button nose. In the case of this “happy face”, the two eyes are the galaxies SDSSCGB 8842.3 and SDSSCGB 8842.4 and the misleading smile lines are actually arcs caused by an effect known as strong gravitational lensing.

Massive structures in the Universe exert such a powerful gravitational pull that they can warp the spacetime around them and act as cosmic lenses which can magnify, distort and bend the light behind them. This phenomenon, crucial to many of Hubble’s discoveries, can be explained by Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

In this special case of gravitational lensing, 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.

Hubble has provided astronomers with the tools to probe these massive galaxies and model their lensing effects, allowing us to peer further into the early Universe than ever before. This object was studied by Hubble’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) and Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) as part of a survey of strong lenses.

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