This Week’s Where In The Universe Challenge

I’m a day late (sorry!) but here’s this week’s image for the Where In The Universe Challenge, to test your visual knowledge of the cosmos. You know what to do: take a look at this image and see if you can determine where in the universe this image is from; give yourself extra points if you can name the spacecraft responsible for the image. We’ll provide the image today, but won’t reveal the answer until tomorrow. This gives you a chance to mull over the image and provide your answer/guess in the comment section. Please, no links or extensive explanations of what you think this is — give everyone the chance to guess.

UPDATE: The answer has now been posted below.

This is an image of gravitational lens system SDSSJ0946+1006 as photographed by Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys, and released in 2008.

The gravitational field of an elliptical galaxy warps the light of two galaxies exactly behind it. The massive foreground galaxy is almost perfectly aligned in the sky with two background galaxies at different distances. The foreground galaxy is 3 billion light-years away, the inner ring and outer ring are comprised of multiple images of two galaxies at a distance of 6 and approximately 11 billion light-years. The odds of seeing such a special alignment are estimated to be 1 in 10,000.

Click here for more on this image.

Check back next week for another WITU Challenge!

14 Replies to “This Week’s Where In The Universe Challenge”

  1. I’d be interested to know the lensed image has been changing over time given that objects in space have movement and shift positions relative to our vantage point.

  2. I think its a picture of the Huygens Titan probe taken from the Cassini spacecraft during separation. This would be in the vicinity of Saturn.

  3. Don’t know where it is, don’t know exactly what it is (i.e., the name of the object), but I’d bet this is a detail in one of the Hubble deep field images, showing a large elliptical galaxy serving as gravitational lens for another, much more distant one.

  4. It’s a (the?) double Einstein ring, imaged by the Hubble’s ACS (before it blew a circuit board).

    The galaxy doing the imaging has an SDSS designation, but I don’t think it was discovered by anyone from the core SDSS team …

  5. Einstein ring; yes. But since I have no idea which one or what took the photo (besides a camera) I will say that it is clearly the Bigfoot on Mars riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle at night down a rain slick Highway 2 just outside Granite Falls Washington at 03:33 in the morning. How bigfoot got here from Mars is yet another mystery.

  6. Well, the smaller bright patch looks like an elliptical galaxy, and the entire image just looks like it was taken with a red or near infrared filter. So my guess is it’s a Hubble deep field image.

  7. “The odds of seeing such a special alignment are estimated to be 1 in 10,000.”
    Meaning?
    That there was 1 chance in 10,000 that we’d find one, at all??? Or more probably: that you’d have to look at an average 10000 galaxies to find one? Or 10000 grav mirages?

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