Hubble fortuitously discovers a new galaxy in the cosmic neighborhood

04 February, 2019, 17:16 | Author: Amos Gonzales
  • Zooming in on NGC 6752 and Bedin 1

While studying the ancient white dwarf stars in the bright globular cluster NGC 6752, in an effort to gain an accurate measure of the cluster's age, they noticed something amiss in the background.

The Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a small and strangely isolated dwarf galaxy just 30 million light-years away from our own Milky Way. After a careful analysis of their brightness and temperatures, the scientists came to a conclusion that these stars aren't a part of the cluster the Milky Way belongs to-but rather they are millions of light-years more distant.

The astronomers nicknamed the galaxy Bedin 1, and their study has been published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters.

Aging space telescope Hubble has stumbled upon a previously unknown galaxy dubbed Bedin 1, a celestial destination within the Milky Way that NASA describes as akin to a 'living fossil.' The relatively minuscule, very dim Bedin 1 galaxy is 13-billion-years-old and spheroidal in shape with a width around 1/30th that of the Milky Way.

Dwarf spheroidal galaxies all have small sizes, low-luminosities and lack dust and old stars. There's no telling just how many other tiny galaxies are hiding behind star clusters just waiting to be found.

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But Bedin 1 stands out from the crowd.

The team published their discovery January 31, in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters. 36 galaxies of this type are already known to exist in the Local Group of Galaxies, 22 of which are satellite galaxies of the Milky Way. The aim of their observations was to use these stars to measure the age of the globular cluster, but in the process they made an unexpected discovery.

The video - a 3-minute long series of images taken by the observatories - provides three different "angles" to observers, allowing them to view the galaxy in visible light, infrared light and X-rays. First, most dwarf galaxies are found huddled up closer to a larger galaxy.

Astronomers have discovered a galaxy thought to be around 13 billion years old - almost as old as the universe itself.

The Hubble Space Telescope was launched into orbit in 1990, where it has remained in the decades since.

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