This image caused a little bit on confusion on Talk from volunteers who weren’t sure what was causing the red beams that appear to be emanating from the centre of this galaxy. It is in fact a perfectly placed trail caused by a man-made satellite in orbit around the earth. There are thousands of satellites in orbit around the earth. If you look up on a clear night you won’t have to wait long to see one. They look like faint stars moving steadily across the sky. Every so often they cross right in front of where a telescope is looking while we’re taking an observation. This is what happened here. In Galaxy Zoo images they tend to be either red, green or blue streaks. This is because the galaxy images are actually made by combining pictures in these three colours and, as the satellite is moving fast, it is only captured in one of the images.
See what you can spot a satellite at www.galaxyzoo.org