Image credit & copyright: NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
To an astronomer (even us amateurs), nothing is more annoying than light pollution or that neighbor that just won’t turn off their floodlights on the side of the house. Well here we have a different iteration of that same problem. This dwarf galaxy, PGC 39058 is roughly 14 million light years away and contains oh, a few million stars. Now that’s pretty awesome and any amateur astronomer would love to have a look at or an image attempt 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 much of our view.
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 though you will need very dark skies. This particular star, at an apparent magnitude of 6.7 is just 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 the most ferocious supernova ever witnessed.
Annoying as it is, we just have to deal with it because this light isn’t moving out of the way for a while and it isn’t going lights out for billions more.
Name: PGC 39058
What is it?: Dwarf galaxy obscured by a foreground star in the Milky Way
How big is it?: Roughly a few million stars
How far away is it?: 14 million light years-ish
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)?: RA 12h 14m 08.4s / Dec +66° 05′ 41″
ESA Space Telescope page for this page: https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1021a/