ACS image of ESO 306-17
This image from the Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope highlights the large and bright elliptical galaxy called ESO 306-17 in the southern sky.
In this image, it appears that ESO 306-17 is surrounded by other galaxies but the bright galaxies at bottom left are thought to be in the foreground, not at the same distance in the sky. In reality, ESO 306-17 lies fairly abandoned in an enormous sea of dark matter and hot gas.
Researchers are also using this image to search for nearby ultra-compact dwarf galaxies. Ultra-compact dwarfs are mini versions of dwarf galaxies that have been left with only their core due to interaction with larger, more powerful galaxies. Most ultra-compact dwarfs discovered to date are located near giant elliptical galaxies in large clusters of galaxies, so it will be interesting to see if researchers find similar objects in fossil groups.