Hubble views dwarf galaxy ESO 540-31

Just too late for yesterday’s post, this lovely image is also part of the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures competition, acknowledgements to Luca Limatola. The galaxy lies only 3.5 Mpc distant in the constellation of Cetus, the Whale. If the stars are as young and blue as they look, star formation might have occurred recently and there might be planets around these stars. More likely, the stars are old and possibly blue stragglers, long past their main sequence lifetimes and now thought to be a common outcome of the long-term evolution and coalescence of a binary star. Any pre-existing planets would likely have been thrown into highly elliptical orbits, or ejected altogether.


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