Viewing the Vermin Galaxy

Esahubble_potw1722a_500

esahubble_potw1722a May 29th, 2017

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is famous for its jaw-dropping snapshots of the cosmos. At first glance this Picture of the Week appears to be quite the opposite, showing just a blur of jagged spikes, speckled noise, and weird, clashing colours but once you know what you are looking at, images like this one are no less breathtaking. This shows a distant galaxy visible as the smudge to the lower right as it begins to align with and pass behind a star sitting nearer to us within the Milky Way. This is an event known as a transit. The star is called HD 107146, and it sits at the centre of the frame. Its light has been blocked in this image to make its immediate surroundings and the faint galaxy visible the position of the star is marked with a green circle. The concentric orange circle surrounding HD 107146 is a circumstellar disc a disc of debris orbiting the star. In the case of HD 107146 we see the disc face-on. As this star very much resembles our Sun, it is an interesting scientific target to study: its circumstellar disc could be analogous to the asteroids in our Solar System and the Kuiper belt. A detailed study of this system is possible because of the much more distant galaxy nicknamed the Vermin Galaxy by some to reflect their annoyance at its presence as the star passes in front of it. The unusual pairing was first observed in 2004 by Hubbles Advanced Camera for Surveys, and again in 2011 by Hubbles Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph. The latter image is shown here, as the Vermin Galaxy began its transit behind HD 107146. The galaxy will not be fully obscured until around 2020, but interesting science can be done even while the galaxy is only partly obscured. Light from the galaxy will pass through the stars debris discs before reaching our telescopes, allowing us to study the properties of the light and how it changes, and thus infer the characteristics of the disc itself.

Image Source: https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1722a/

Curator: ESA/Hubble, Garching bei München, Germany

Image Use Policy: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
Vermin Galaxy
Subject - Distant Universe
Galaxy

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_pseudocolor Hubble Space Telescope (STIS ) Optical (Very Broad) 585.0 nm
Spectrum_base
Arrow_top_pseudocolor
Esahubble_potw1722a_1280
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ID
potw1722a
Subject Category
D.5  
Subject Name
Vermin Galaxy
Credits
ESA/Hubble & NASA
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1722a/
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Distance Notes
Facility
Hubble Space Telescope
Instrument
STIS
Color Assignment
Pseudocolor
Band
Optical
Bandpass
Very Broad
Central Wavelength
585
Start Time
Integration Time
9862
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
Equinox
Reference Value
Reference Dimension
1244.0, 1242.0
Reference Pixel
Scale
Rotation
Coordinate System Projection:
Quality
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
ESA/Hubble
URL
http://www.spacetelescope.org
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2
City
Garching bei München
State/Province
Postal Code
D-85748
Country
Germany
Rights
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher
ESA/Hubble
Publisher ID
esahubble
Resource ID
potw1722a
Metadata Date
2016-11-28T11:23:47+01:00
Metadata Version
1.1
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

 

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There is no distance meta data in this image.