TIME space

Hubble Telescope Spots an Emoticon in Outer Space

A smiling lens
Hubble/ESA/NASA Galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849

It's actually a cluster of galaxies

In the center of this Hubble Telescope image is the galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849 — and it appears to be smiling back at you.

The two orange eyes of the grinning face are actually two distant galaxies, and the peculiar smile was caused by an effect known as strong gravitational lensing.

Galaxy clusters are so large that they can create a strong gravitational pull that warps the time and space surrounding them. From afar this creates a distorted view of reality, known as a ‘cosmic lens.’

There are thousands of images within the Hubble database that have only been viewed by a few scientists. However, Hubble opens up its massive database to the public to search through. A version of this particular image was brought to attention by a contestant, Judy Smith, through the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures image processing competition.

Read next: In Praise of Emoticons

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TIME space

Ever Seen a Green Comet? Then Get Outside Soon

David Lane Comet Lovejoy

Comet Lovejoy is passing by for the first time in more than 8,000 years

If you were looking up at the sky the past couple of weeks you may have noticed a greenish glow. That was Comet Lovejoy, also known as C/2014 Q2, passing through the solar system more than 50 million miles away from our own planet. Amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy from Queensland, Australia is the man who discovered the comet and four others like it in previous years.

Various amateur and professional astrophotographers such as David Lane have been quick to point their cameras towards the sky to catch a glimpse of the passing comet this month.

Lane’s photograph of Lovejoy was created using a series of three long-exposure shots from rural Kansas that were later combined into the composite image above.

“Comet Lovejoy is an excellent comet as it’s fairly close, quite bright and best of all very high in the sky,” Lane tells TIME.

Here is a closer look at the comet from the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter in Arizona by astrophotographer Adam Block.

Adam Block—Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of ArizonaComet Lovejoy

The comet has been visible throughout the Northern Hemisphere since the end of December and was expected to reach its peak visibility sometime in mid-January. Get outside and try to spot Lovejoy yourself, you better hurry as it will be another 8,000 years until the comet will again be visible from earth.

[National Geographic]

Read next: Buzz Aldrin Turns 85: A Look Back at a Remarkable Life

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TIME royals

See The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Meet the King and Queen of Hip Hop

Prince William and Kate Middleton met Beyoncé and Jay Z during the Brooklyn Nets game last night

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met Beyoncé and Jay Z at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Monday night, as LeBron James (“King James”) led the Cleveland Cavaliers to victory against the Brooklyn Nets.

Nobody fainted during the encounter, which lasted for just a few minutes between the 3rd and 4th quarter of the game. Neither Blue Ivy nor Baby George were in attendance, but after their parents met, could there be a playdate in their future?

Put on some sunglasses before you view these pictures– the star wattage could damage your corneas.

TIME portfolio

Documenting Drug Addiction in Kabul

It took 12 visits for photographer Souvid Datta to gain the trust of drug users in Kabul, Afghanistan

Following his recent graduation from the University College of London, Souvid Datta’s first assignment was in Kabul, Afghanistan. In between his time photographing scenes of contemporary Afghan life, the 23-year-old photographer set out to work on a personal project, documenting heroin addiction in the country Afghanistan.

In Kabul, the Pul-e Sukhta bridge has become the meeting point for hundreds of drug dealers and addicts. Datta struggled, at first, to gain their trust, but, after numerous failed attempts with various fixers, Datta tried a new technique.

“I started going back alone, trying to speak to addicts above and around the bridge in Urdu,” he says. “I did this without my camera out.” It’s only after his 12th visit that he started bringing his camera out with him.

In a country ravaged by decades of war, more than one million of Afghans, rich and poor, are addicted to drugs, according to a United Nations report. “Narcotics are becoming a sad kind of equalizer in the sense that you get middle class government workers, mothers, students, and the very poor people from the streets all going down under this bridge to use drugs,” says Datta.

After meeting and documenting some of these drug users, Datta followed Afghan National Police officers and visited a treatment clinic in Kabul where people are offered therapy and given food, clothes and medication. Yet, he says, because of a lack of resources, there’s no follow-up in terms of employment opportunities and counseling. “As soon as people leave, they relapse. That’s no more obvious than in the center itself where you see people coming in for their fourth or fifth time.”

Souvid Datta is documentary photographer based in London.

Adam Glanzman is a contributor to TIME LightBox. Follow him on Twitter @glanzpiece

TIME On Our Radar

Ride Along With America’s Marshal Officers

When he’s not shooting for publications around the world, photographer Brian Finke makes the time to work on long personal documentary projects. His most recent one, called U.S. Marshals, takes an intimate look into the lives of those serving in the U.S. Marshal service, the oldest law enforcement agency in the country.

Finke’s interest in the U.S. Marshals came from re-connecting in 2010 with Cameron Welch, a current Marshal and friend from high school. The encounter led him to spend the following three years on regular embeds with the U.S. Marshals in more than a dozen U.S. cities.

“It’s pretty amazing watching them do what they do,” says Finke. “It was kind of like my own version of the TV show ‘Cops,’ putting a bulletproof vest on and running in behind them as they go catch the bad guys.”

As part of a law enforcement agency, the Marshals are responsible for transporting criminals, protecting judges and witnesses, as well as tracking down some of the most dangerous fugitives in the country.

“I never felt like my life was in danger,” says Finke, despite the often-precarious situations he and his assistant found themselves in – his very first ride-along with the Marshals included a 120-MPH pursuit of an escaped convict in Texas.

Finke started his photographic career as a black-and-white shooter. Today, it is easy to spot the documentary photographer’s bright, saturated work in his color images, which he developed using an off-camera flash. “Flash exaggerates the color and makes it all come together for me,” he says.

Finke will continue to use his off-camera flash technique in his next in-depth project, which focuses on the women who star in hip hop music videos, he calls this body of work “Hip Hop Honeys.”

“I love the process of photography,” Fink says. “Being out in the world and experiencing things, I feel very fortunate to be able to do this.”

Brian Finke is documentary photographer based in N.Y. and his book US Marshals is published by powerHouse Books 

Adam Glanzman is a contributor to TIME LightBox. Follow him on Twitter @glanzpiece 

TIME space

A New View of Jupiter Reveals ‘Eye’ of its Storm

A close-up view of Jupiter reveals a creepy 'eye.'
A. Simon—Goddard Space Flight Center/ESA/NASA A close-up view of Jupiter reveals a creepy 'eye.'

Jupiter is keeping an eye on the other planets in the solar system

Earlier this year the Hubble Telescope made this eerie image of what appears to be a hole in Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, commonly referred to as GRS, which almost resembles an eye.

The ‘hole,’ it turns out, was actually just a well-timed shadow, captured by one of Hubble’s cameras as Jupiter’s moon Ganymede passed by.

GRS is a massive, ongoing storm within Jupiter’s atmosphere that would be similar to a hurricane on earth. The red spot may appear relatively small from our vantage point, but is so large that three earths could fit within its boundaries.

However, the Great Red Spot may not be so fearsome in years to come, as scientists have observed the spot’s decline in size since the 1930’s.

Read next: 20 Breathtaking Images Of The Earth As Seen From Space

TIME space

Stunning Images Of Galaxy Clusters Teach Scientists About Star Birth

Chandra observations of the Perseus and Virgo galaxy clusters suggest turbulence may be preventing hot gas there from cooling
CXC/Stanford/NASA Chandra observations of the Perseus and Virgo galaxy clusters suggest turbulence may be preventing hot gas from cooling.

Turbulence is preventing star formation

It seems that the stars have aligned in the world of astronomy.

In a new study, researchers found that galactic turbulence may prevent the formation of new stars in outer galaxy clusters, which are the largest objects in the universe held together by gravity, existing at temperatures upwards of a million degrees.

Scientists have long wondered why these massive clusters have not begun to cool and form stars.

“We knew that somehow the gas in clusters is being heated to prevent it cooling and forming stars. The question was exactly how,” said lead researcher Irina Zhuravleva, of Stanford University.

According to Zhuravleva, the heat is being “channeled” through turbulence within the cluster. This movement is what maintains the cluster’s high temperature, preventing star formation.

TIME space

See a Comet’s Close Encounter With Mars

This composite image captures the positions of comet 'Siding Spring' and Mars in a never-before-seen close passage of a comet by the Red Planet, on Oct. 19, 2014.
PSI/JHU/APL/STScI/AU/ESA/NASA This composite image captures the positions of comet 'Siding Spring' and Mars in a never-before-seen close passage of a comet by the Red Planet, on Oct. 19, 2014.

A comet flew past Mars this week and NASA captured the encounter

The comet known as “Siding Spring” had a too-close-for-comfort encounter with the Red Planet this week.

Traveling at around 125,000mph, the comet missed colliding with Mars by a mere 87,000 miles. That’s about one-third of the distance between the Earth and the Moon — in astronomical terms, a very close encounter.

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captured the encounter in this composite image. Sadly, it will be another million years before we see comet Siding Spring again, after it completes its orbit around the sun.

See an artist’s rendition of the encounter in the video below:

TIME Interview

Meet Harlem’s ‘Official’ Street Photographer

Khalik Allah, a 29-year-old filmmaker and photographer who documents the streets of Harlem at night, has been photographing the corner of 125th and Lexington since 2012; armed with little more than a manual camera and a few rolls of film.

Street photography can often be a daunting or awkward experience – especially when you’re trying to photograph people who might be skeptical of what you are doing and why. However, for this street artist, photography is an immersive experience where he has built hundreds of relationships with members of the community.

One of the methods Allah uses to gain access to the lives of so many people is to show them a book of his past photographs, a technique learned from one of his influencers, photographer Bruce Davidson.

“Carrying a book of 4×6 prints for people to see has given me entry [in the lives] of some of the most hardcore people in the world. They can relate to that,” Allah says. “That helped me build a tighter bond with the community.”

Once given permission, the Harlem-based photographer will often tell his subjects to picture something meaningful while posing for a portrait. “I’ll tell a person that I stop in the street to think about something that they went through in their life that was difficult and project that through their eyes,” says Allah, who describes himself as a spiritual photographer tasked with helping people heal through photography.

“I tell people that my camera is a healing mechanism,” Allah says. “Let me photograph it and take it away from you.”

Khalik Allah is street photographer based in Harlem, N.Y.

Adam Glanzman is a contributor to TIME LightBox. Follow him on Twitter @glanzpiece


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