Super Bright Star Outshines Galaxy In Cosmic Photo

Super Bright Star Outshines Galaxy In Cosmic Photo
The galaxy PGC 39058 is located about 14 million light-years away from Earth, and contains millions of stars – many of them not unlike the bright star that appears in the foreground. This striking Hubble image shows that the nearby star easily outshines the more distant PGC 39058 galaxy. (Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA [Full Story])

An intenselybright star between Earth and a distant galaxy steals the spotlight in a new imagefrom the Hubble Space Telescope that was originally aimed at the galaxy in thebackground.

The galaxyPGC 39058 is located about 14 million light-years away from Earth, and containsmillions of stars. But when Hubble turned its camera eye on the galaxy, thebright glare of a foreground star stood out. [Photo of galaxy PGC 39058 andstar.]

The star'slocation between Earth and the galaxy means that Hubble's view of PGC 39058 ispartly obscured by the brilliant star. This, however, would not be the case withother telescopes, particularly those on the ground.

To most Earth-bound observers, the star would appear quite faintbecause of their limited power and interference from the atmosphere. Binocularsor a smalltelescope are needed to even see it at all.

But thepower of Hubble's optics give the telescope a sharper view that makes the starseem to shine with incredible intensity. [Amazing Hubble Photos]

By galaxystandards, PGC 39058 is a modest distance from Earth, but it appears faintbecause it is a dwarf galaxy. The sharp Hubble image easily resolves it intoits component stars and also reveals several much more distant galaxies in thebackground.

The star andgalaxy PGC 39058 are located within the constellation of Draco (the Dragon). Itis currently visible in the Northern Hemisphere, and appears to slither over a largeportion of the sky around the north celestial pole.

Draco is avery ancient grouping of stars, and the fabled creature plays a significantrole in ancient Greek mythology. The Greeks claimed that Draco representedLadon, the dragon with 100 heads. One of the dragon's tasks was to guard thegarden of Hesperides and its golden apples that Hercules was supposed toretrieve.

The new Hubblepicture was created from images that were taken using the Wide Field Channel ofthe telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys.

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