An intensely bright star between Earth and a distant galaxy steals the spotlight in a new image from the Hubble Space Telescope that was originally aimed at the galaxy in the background.
The galaxy PGC 39058 is located about 14 million light-years away from Earth, and contains millions of stars. But when Hubble turned its camera eye on the galaxy, the bright glare of a foreground star stood out. [Photo of galaxy PGC 39058 and star.]
The star's location between Earth and the galaxy means that Hubble's view of PGC 39058 is partly obscured by the brilliant star. This, however, would not be the case with other telescopes, particularly those on the ground.
But the power of Hubble's optics give the telescope a sharper view that makes the star seem to shine with incredible intensity. [Amazing Hubble Photos]
By galaxy standards, PGC 39058 is a modest distance from Earth, but it appears faint because it is a dwarf galaxy. The sharp Hubble image easily resolves it into its component stars and also reveals several much more distant galaxies in the background.
The star and galaxy PGC 39058 are located within the constellation of Draco (the Dragon). It is currently visible in the Northern Hemisphere, and appears to slither over a large portion of the sky around the north celestial pole.
Draco is a very ancient grouping of stars, and the fabled creature plays a significant role in ancient Greek mythology. The Greeks claimed that Draco represented Ladon, the dragon with 100 heads. One of the dragon's tasks was to guard the garden of Hesperides and its golden apples that Hercules was supposed to retrieve.
The new Hubble picture was created from images that were taken using the Wide Field Channel of the telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys.
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