A swarm of blue stars makes up the faint dwarf galaxy ESO 540-030 in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
Explore the loose group of stars and the many types of far-off galaxies in the background. If you see four sharp lines shooting away from the star, that is a sign of a star between Earth and the distant galaxy. It is caused by light bending in the optics within the Hubble Space Telescope. What shapes and patterns do you see? Leave a note below.
Generally dwarf galaxies are dim. With their stars spread out and little gas and dust to fuel new star formation, they can be hard for astronomers to see and study. ESO 540-030 is part of the Sculptor Group of galaxies. ESO 540-030 is right in our backyard, just 11 million light-years from Earth. The Sculptor Group is the closest galaxy group to our own Local Group of galaxies that includes the Milky Way Galaxy. The closest galaxy of the group is just a mere 5 million light-years away. It has taken light, traveling at more than 6 trillion miles per year, five million years to reach our eyes on Earth. Because of it closeness, the Sculptor Group contains some of the brightest galaxies in the southern sky.
Many types of galaxies are found in this image. We see spirals, barred spirals, ellipticals and irregular galaxies. Some can be found peering through ESO 540-030 itself. Are you up for the challenge? Cataloging galaxy types is important because it helps scientists understand how the Universe evolved.