As beautiful as the surrounding space may be, the sparkling galaxy in the foreground of this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope undeniably steals the show.
This spotlight-hogging galaxy, seen set against a backdrop of more distant galaxies of all shapes and sizes, is known as PGC 29388. Although it dominates in this image, this galaxy is a small player on the cosmic stage, and is known as a dwarf elliptical galaxy. As the “dwarf” moniker suggests, the galaxy is on the smaller side, and boasts a “mere” 100 million to a few billion stars — a very small number indeed when compared to the Milky Way’s population of around 250 to 400 billion stellar residents.
Dwarf elliptical galaxies, or dEs, are elliptical galaxies that are smaller than ordinary elliptical galaxies. They are quite common in galaxy groups and clusters, and are usually companions to other galaxies.