This image shows the galaxies LEDA 48062 within the constellation Perseus from the NASA or ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The LEDA 48062 is the small, sparse, amorphous galaxies on the right side of this photo, and it’s followed by a far more sharply defined neighbor on the left, the big, disc-like lenticular galaxy UGC 8603. A couple of distant galaxies will also be visible in the background, and also a number of foreground stars will also be visible in the entire image.
Exactly why are there 4 sharp places around the stars in the Hubble pictures? These structures are known as diffraction spikes, and are produced whenever starlight diffracts or disperses with the support structures within reflecting telescopes like Hubble. The 4 spikes are because of the 4 thin vanes supporting the secondary mirror of Hubble, and therefore are only apparent for bright objects, like stars, where lots of light is concentrated in one region. Darker, more spread out objects, like the galaxies LEDA 48062 and UGC 8603, don’t have apparent diffraction spikes.
Recently, Hubble has spent time with our galaxies neighbors. LEDA 48062 is just around 30 million light-years from the Milky Way, and was thus in the watching campaign Every Known Nearby Galaxy. The specific objective of this campaign was to recognize that: every known galaxies within 10 megaparsecs (around thirty three million light years) of the Milky Way. By knowing our galaxies neighbors, astronomers are able to figure out which stars reside in different galaxies, and also map out the local structure of the Universe.