Glitter galaxy through Hubble's eye

Dec 03, 2012
Galaxy ESO 318-13. Credits: ESA/Hubble & NASA

(Phys.org)—The brilliant cascade of stars through the middle of this image is the galaxy ESO 318-13 as seen by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Despite being millions of light-years from Earth, the stars captured in this image are so bright and clear you could almost attempt to count them.

Although ESO 318-13 is the main event in this image, it is sandwiched between a vast collection of bright . Several stars near and far dazzle in comparison to the neat dusting contained within the galaxy.

One that particularly stands out is near the centre of the image, and looks like an extremely bright star located within the galaxy. This is, however, a trick of perspective. The star is actually in the Milky Way, our own Galaxy, and it shines so brightly because it is so much closer to us than ESO 318-13.

There are also a number of tiny glowing discs scattered throughout the frame that are more distant galaxies. In the top right corner, an can be clearly seen, a galaxy which is much larger but more distant than ESO 318-13.

More interestingly, peeking through ESO 318-13, near the right-hand edge of the image, is a distant spiral galaxy.

Galaxies are largely empty space – the stars within them only take up a small volume. Providing a galaxy is not too dusty, it can be largely transparent to light coming from the background. This makes overlapping galaxies like these quite common.

Explore further: Image: Chandra's view of the Tycho Supernova remnant

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hubble sees a spiral within a spiral

May 28, 2012

(Phys.org) -- NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured this image of the spiral galaxy known as ESO 498-G5. One interesting feature of this galaxy is that its spiral arms wind all the way into the center, so ...

Hubble eyes a loose spiral galaxy

Nov 26, 2012

(Phys.org)—The Hubble Space Telescope has spotted the spiral galaxy ESO 499-G37, seen here against a backdrop of distant galaxies, scattered with nearby stars.

A spiral galaxy in Hydra

Apr 09, 2012

(Phys.org) -- This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows NGC 4980, a spiral galaxy in the southern constellation of Hydra. The shape of NGC 4980 appears slightly deformed, something which is ...

Hubble captures image of the Arp 274 group of galaxies

Aug 25, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Arp 274, also known as NGC 5679, is a system of three galaxies that appear to be partially overlapping in the image, although they may be at somewhat different distances. The spiral shapes ...

Image: Galaxy at the edge

Aug 30, 2010

Spiral galaxy NGC 4921 presently is estimated to be 320 million light years distant.

Hubble spots a colorful lenticular galaxy

Nov 12, 2012

(Phys.org)—The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured a beautiful galaxy that, with its reddish and yellow central area, looks rather like an explosion from a Hollywood movie. The galaxy, called NGC ...

Recommended for you

Image: Chandra's view of the Tycho Supernova remnant

Jul 25, 2014

More than four centuries after Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe first observed the supernova that bears his name, the supernova remnant it created is now a bright source of X-rays. The supersonic expansion of ...

Satellite galaxies put astronomers in a spin

Jul 24, 2014

An international team of researchers, led by astronomers at the Observatoire Astronomique de Strasbourg (CNRS/Université de Strasbourg), has studied 380 galaxies and shown that their small satellite galaxies almost always ...

Video: The diversity of habitable zones and the planets

Jul 24, 2014

The field of exoplanets has rapidly expanded from the exclusivity of exoplanet detection to include exoplanet characterization. A key step towards this characterization is the determination of which planets occupy the Habitable ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

gromm1t2
not rated yet Jan 24, 2013
Still, why can we see individual stars in this galaxy? Is it closer than Andromeda or is lensing occurring or something else?
yyz
not rated yet Jan 24, 2013
"why can we see individual stars in this galaxy?"

This small galaxy is a member of the M 83 galaxy group which, although more distant that the Andromeda Galaxy, still lies close enough for Hubble to resolve its brightest stars. NASA's Extragalactic Database(NED) gives the distance to ESO 318-13 as ~6.8 Mpc (the distance to Andromeda is ~780 kpc for comparison).

Remember too that most of the stars in this galaxy (dwarfs and subdwarfs) are too faint to see in this image.