Hubble discovers dwarf galaxy in cosmic neighbourhood | dwarf galaxy | hubble space telescope

04 February, 2019, 17:15 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • Zooming in on NGC 6752 and Bedin 1

During relatively recent work on imaging NGC 6752, a globular star cluster located around 13,000 light-years from the Milky Way's halo, Hubble made a surprise discovery: a previously unknown dwarf galaxy.

In the outer fringes of the area observed with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys a compact collection of stars was visible. Measuring only 3,000 light-years wide, Bedin 1 is a fraction of the size of the Milky Way (our galaxy is at least 100,000 light-years wide).

Bedin 1 is a dwarf spheroidal galaxy which contains small, old stars that lack dust and are very faint.

The Hubble Space Telescope has just captured a new dwarf galaxy which is 30 million light-years away from the Milky Way.

In the 1990s, the famous Hubble Deep Field image led NASA to believe there were about 200 billion galaxies in the universe.

Accidentally stumbling across a nearby galaxy gives astronomers a hint that there may be many more galaxies of this type out there, just waiting to be found behind the nearest star cluster.

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This "loner galaxy" is about 30 million light years away, or 2,300 times farther away than the clusters in the foreground of the image.

Reference: These results will be published online January 31, 2019, in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters [https://academic.oup.com/mnrasl]. Unbelievable footage from NASA shows the camera zooming in on the "tiny" galaxy, dubbed "Bedin 1", surrounded by thousands of dazzling stars.

From the properties of its stars, astronomers were able to infer that the galaxy is around 13 billion years old - almost as old as the Universe itself.

"This makes it possibly the most isolated small dwarf galaxy discovered to date", the ESA announcement said.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of global cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). The galaxy's isolation means it rarely interacted with other galaxies, making it the equivalent of an early universe "living fossil", the space agency explains.

So if Bedin 1 is gravitationally connected to the distant NGC 6744, the larger galaxy appears to have left its little sibling alone.

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