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Hubble sees beauty in fuzzy Hunting Dogs galaxy

A diffuse galaxy tucked away in the Hunting Dogs constellation gets a moment in the spotlight thanks to a lovely Hubble Space Telescope image.

Galaxy NGC 4242 hides out in the small Hunting Dogs constellation.
ESA/Hubble & NASA

You've no doubt heard of Orion, the Big Dipper and other major constellations, but you may have overlooked Canes Venatici, the Hunting Dogs. 

The Hubble Space Telescope peered at this constellation and saw the galaxy NGC 4242 within. NASA and the European Space Agency highlighted Hubble's view of the galaxy on Friday.

NGC 4242 is notable for being an attainable telescope target. "NGC 4242 is visible to anyone armed with even a basic telescope, as British astronomer William Herschel found when he discovered the galaxy in 1788," says the ESA. The galaxy is located about 30 million light-years from Earth. 

While some Hubble snaps reveal epic formations like the rising columns of the "Pillars of Creation" or scenic spiral galaxies, the telescope's look at NGC 4242 shows us a fuzzy, amorphous galaxy that "supports a low rate of star formation." 

The ESA notes this galaxy may be dim and have a "poorly defined spiral structure," but it's still an ethereal beauty deserving of its Hubble portrait.