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NASA’s Hubble captures ‘vermin’ galaxy being super annoying

Published Jun 2nd, 2017 6:43PM EDT
vermin galaxy

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Usually, when astronomers, skywatchers, and space researchers are able to catch a glimpse of something in space it’s cause for celebration — after all, the images are often jaw-droppingly gorgeous, and with plenty of scientific implications, too. But when it comes to the galaxy hiding behind a star called HD 107146, scientists are just kind of annoyed that it even exists to begin with.

In the image above, HD 107146 is the big blob in the center of the shot, circled in green. The massive mess of yellow, orange, and red dots surrounding it is the mix of various debris stuck in orbit around the star. NASA likens the disc to our Solar System’s own collection of asteroids in the Kuiper Belt. It’s an exciting place in the cosmos because of how much the star shares with our own sun, but there’s a problem: that big bright patch of nonsense in the lower right corner.

That glowing half-egg-shaped thing is actually a distant galaxy, called the “Vermin Galaxy.” It’s much, much farther away than HD 107146, and it’s beginning to pass behind the star’s debris disk. This event, called transit, will finally wrap up by 2020, at which point researchers will be able to use the light from the galaxy — passing through the debris disk of the star — to make observations and draw conclusions about the content of the debris itself. However, until that happens, only a limited amount of research can be done. Perhaps that’s why, as NASA notes, some astronomers are “annoyed at its presence,” and have given it a nickname to reflect that.