Multiple galaxies shine bright against the dark backdrop of space in a newly released Hubble Space Telescope image.
The image captures several spiral and irregular galaxies in the constellation of Hercules. The most noticeable galaxy, named LEDA 58109 or MCG+07-34-030, stands alone in the upper right of the image. It has a bright core and exhibits a spiral structure, similar to our own Milky Way galaxy.
Two other galactic objects lie to the lower left of LEDA 58109, and appear to overlap. One of the objects — an active galactic nucleus (AGN) called SDSS J162558.14+435746.4 — partially obscures the galaxy SDSS J162557.25+435743.5, according to a statement from the European Space Agency (ESA).
These two objects lie further away from Earth than LEDA 58109. In the new Hubble image, the galaxy SDSS J162557.25+435743.5 appears to peak out to the right from behind the AGN — which is characterized by a much-higher-than-normal luminosity fueled by the accretion of matter by a supermassive black hole at the center of its host galaxy.
Typically, galaxies are classified as either spiral and elliptical. However, this new Hubble image captures a diverse number of galaxies, highlighting the complexity of classifying these collections of stars, dust and dark matter, according to the statement.
"The sample of galaxies here also illustrates the wide variety of names that galaxies have: Some relatively short, like LEDA 58109, and some very long and challenging to remember, such as the two galaxies to the left," ESA officials said in the statement. "This is due to the variety of cataloging systems that chart the celestial objects in the night sky. No one catalog is exhaustive, and they cover overlapping regions of the sky, so that many galaxies belong to several different catalogs."
The new image was shared on July 25.
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Samantha Mathewson joined Space.com as an intern in the summer of 2016. She received a B.A. in Journalism and Environmental Science at the University of New Haven, in Connecticut. Previously, her work has been published in Nature World News. When not writing or reading about science, Samantha enjoys traveling to new places and taking photos! You can follow her on Twitter @Sam_Ashley13.