June 2 (UPI) -- When astronomers talk about transits, most often they're discussing the path of a planet across the face of its host star.
But the cosmos host all sorts of transits. The Hubble Space Telescope captured a unique transit, the passage of a massive galaxy behind a sun-like star that is positioned much closer to Earth.
The stellar analog, HD 107146, is located 90 light-years from Earth -- its magnitude too faint to be seen with the naked eye.
In the newly published image, the distant galaxy appears as just a smudge in the lower right hand corner. At the center of the Hubble image lies the invisible star, circled in green.
The image is dominated by the circumstellar disk surrounding HD 107146, which appears face-on from the perspective of Earth.
The galaxy's transit has allowed scientists to study the star's disk in greater detail, as researchers can measure changes in the galaxy's light as it passes through the rings of debris. Surveys suggest the disk is mostly made up of small dust particles, but may feature a range of large debris fragments, similar to our own solar system's asteroid belts.
Astronomers first imaged the transit in 2004 and again in 2010. By 2020, the galaxy -- nicknamed the "Vermin Galaxy" for its intrusive positioning -- will be completely obscured by the star.