Image credit & copyright: NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
To an astronomer, nothing is more annoying that light pollution or that neighbor that just won’t turn his floodlights off at night. Well here we have a different iteration of that same problem. This dwarf galaxy cataloged as PGC 39058 is roughly 14 million light years away and contains a few million stars. Now that’s pretty awesome and any amateur astronomer or imager would love to have a look at this object. I mean how cool is that, there’s even an almost edge on spiral galaxy even further behind still. That is of course, if there wasn’t a Milky Way star directly in the way blocking our view.
Yea, that’s right. That floodlight of a star is actually a star in our own Milky Way galaxy that just happens to be directly in our way. Obviously you don’t need me to tell you how powerful Hubble is but check this out. When you look up, depending on where you are you see a handful to a few thousand stars and the dimmest stars that you can see with the unaided eye, even in the darkest skies are an apparent magnitude of 6 or even down to 6.5. but you will need very dark skies. This particular star, at an apparent magnitude of 6.7 is beyond that threshold. If you were in the darkest skies and knew where to look you would still need binoculars to view it. Hubble makes it look like a supernova.
So annoying as it is, we just have to deal with it because this light isn’t moving out of the way for many years (hundreds to thousands) and it isn’t going out for billions more.
NAME: PGC 39058.
WHAT IS IT?: Dwarf galaxy obscured by a foreground star in the Milky Way.
HOW FAR AWAT IS IT?: 14 million light years-ish.
HOW BIG IS IT?: Few million stars.
APPARENT MAGNITUDE: Foreground star is actually only a magnitude of 6.7.
WHERE IS IT? (General): In the constellation of Draco the Dragon.
WHERE IS IT? (Exact RA/Dec J2000):
ESA Space Telescope page for this page: https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1021a/