(Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA)

This stunningly abnormal little galaxy is ESO 318-38. It’s located about 20 to 30 million light-years away from Earth and is MUCH smaller than the Milky Way galaxy, holding merely 1% of its overall mass. Despite the size/mass/shape and the other physical characteristics of the galaxy that make it differ from our own, it’s also unlike the Milky Way in the fact that it has little to no gas or interstellar dust. Instead, it’s essentially ALL star. If you look closely enough (specifically at the zoomable version linked to below), you can see several other distant galaxies looming in the background  (the gleaming object in the lower left is one such galaxy).

The focal point of this image, the large object tucked almost in the center, isn’t an abnormally large star belonging to ESO 318-38. It’s actually a star located in our Milky Way itself. It only appears so large because of the contrast between its proximity to Earth and its distance from ESO 318-38.

See a larger image here.

Misshaped Galaxies (Slideshow):


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