Hubble Captures Stunning New Dwarf Galaxy Close to the Milky Way

Hubble Captures Stunning New Dwarf Galaxy Close to the Milky Way

Hubble Captures Stunning New Dwarf Galaxy Close to the Milky Way

Despite dwarf spheroidal galaxies being a common discovery, Bedin 1 is unique from the rest.

Though it might be hard to imagine, astronomers stumbled on this galaxy by accident. The small galaxy, described as a "living fossil", was found in the globular cluster NGC 6752 using the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA has shared a stunning image of the dwarf galaxy that was captured by Hubble. The human residents of the Milky Way galaxy are now saying hi to a neighboring galaxy we didn't even know existed. Analyses of the stars' brightnesses and temperatures indicated that they lay beyond NGC 6752 and were, in fact, part of a previously unknown galaxy.

Reference: These results will be published online January 31, 2019, in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters [https://academic.oup.com/mnrasl]. Granted, galaxies are anything but "small", but compared to our absolute unit of a galaxy, Bedin 1 is a featherweight.

The scientists that made this discovery are now calling the galaxy Bedin 1, after the lead discoverer, Luigi Bedin.

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

It measures only around 3,000 light years at its greatest extent; not only is it tiny, but it is also incredibly faint. Dwarf spheroidals are galaxies that are in retirement; the star formation party is over, and the stars that they do have are old and dim.

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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.

Further observations led the astronomers to deduce that the galaxy is roughly 13 billion years old, making it roughly as old as the Milky Way.

The Hubble Team said: "While dwarf spheroidal galaxies are not uncommon, Bedin 1 has some notable features".

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has been peering into the unknown and infinite universe for almost 30 years.

Bedin 1 is so old and so distant that it has hardly interacted with any other galaxies meaning it's essentially "the astronomical equivalent of a living fossil from the early Universe", according to the Hubble team.

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