The irregular galaxy Arp 263 can be seen in the background of the Hubble Space Telescope image, but is overshadowed by a stellar photobomber, the bright star BD+17 2217.
Arp 263 – also known as NGC 3239 – is an irregular galaxy filled with regions of recent star formation, and its frayed appearance is what astronomers expect to have evolved from the merger of two galaxies. In the constellation Leo, it is about 25 million light-years away.
Two separate Hubble probes of Arp 263, using two of Hubble’s instruments, added data to this image. The preliminary probe was part of a process to note the sites of recent supernovae, such as supernova SN 2012a, discovered within ten years of Arp 263.
Astronomers used Hubble’s powerful Wide Field Camera 3 to search for the continuous remnants of the massive stellar explosion.
The second probe is part of a campaign that will use Hubble’s Advanced Camera to survey all of the strange galaxies not previously seen in the Arp catalog, such as Arp 263.
It is used to determine topics that are encouraging for additional study NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope.
The interloping foreground star, called BD+17 2217, is decorated with two sets of crisscrossing diffraction spikes.
The interaction of light with Hubble’s internal structure suggests that concentrated bright objects such as stars are surrounded by four prominent spikes.
The image of BD+17 2217 was constructed using two sets of Hubble data; Therefore, spikes from both images surround this stellar photobomber. The spikes are at different angles because Hubble was in different orientations when collecting the two datasets.