A sneaky galaxy lurks in this Hubble image. Can you spot it?

A sneaky galaxy lurks in this Hubble image. Can you spot it?

A sneaky galaxy lurks in this Hubble image. Can you spot it?

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Computers have been a great help to scientists when it comes to finding and classifying space objects in telescope images. But some galaxies are so elusive that it takes human power to find them. This was the case of Donatiello II, a dwarf galaxy spotted by the Italian amateur astronomer Giuseppe Donatiello.

The European Space Agency released an image from the Hubble Space Telescope on Friday that looks like a typical wide view of a section of the universe. There are obvious stars and galaxies, including beautiful spirals. ESA has challenged space fans to spot the newly discovered Donatiello II hidden in the image.

Oh hi, Donatiello II.

ESA/Hubble/NASA/B. Mutlu-Pakdil/Acknowledgements: G. Donatiello/Red circle by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Yes, that cloudy-looking collection of stars in the center is the elusive galaxy. “If you can’t quite make out the cluster of faint stars that is all we can see of Donatiello II in this image, then you’re in good company,” said ESA, which manages Hubble in the as part of a joint project with NASA.

An algorithm designed to search for galaxies missed this one, but astronomer Donatiello found it and two others while digging through data from the dark energy camera of the 4-meter Víctor M. Blanco Telescope in Chile.

Donatiello II’s Hubble image represents independent confirmation of the galaxy, which also happens to be a satellite of the much better known Sculptor Galaxy (NGC 253), a bright spiral visible through small telescopes.

The ESA described Donatiello’s research as laborious. On the bright side, he now has the Donatiello II, III, and IV galaxies named after him.


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