This one unfortunately is quite grainy and there is not much that can be done about it. It’s also a very interesting and totally weird object so I had to take a look and see what I could do. Recall Hanny’s Voorwerp (or click the link if you’ve never heard of it). This is in the same rare class of objects. That is, it’s another voorwerp.
It may look like some kind of nebula but this is actually a very distant galaxy with bits of ionized gas stretching out from it for thousands of light years. The gas appears blueish in this rendition. Also of note is a dust lane crossing the nucleus at a perpendicular angle to the arms of ionized gas.
At the lower left is a foreground star. Very few background galaxies are visible. Curiously, two conspicuously bright dots are visible in the northern arm. I can’t say whether those are very dim line-of-sight foreground stars or constituents of the voorwerp. I’d say foreground stars if I were forced to guess. Not totally sure, though.
A couple of William Keel’s posts on it are available to read over at the Galaxy Zoo blog. See here and here. (Bill is the principal investigator for the observations which were used to create this image so he should know a thing or two about it.)
Orange: ACS/WFC F716N (jbqv01010_drz)
Blue: ACS/WFC F505N (jbqv01020_drz)
North is up.
Hubble data is public domain, but I put a lot of work into combining it into beautiful color images. The minimal credit line should read: NASA / ESA / J. Schmidt
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.