Hubble Captures Stunning New Dwarf Galaxy Close to the Milky Way

Space										
		
																	Hubble just spotted a never-before-seen galaxy hiding in plain sight					
								
			
	
		Mike Wehner			@Mike

The team used the NASA/ESA (European Space Agency) telescope to study white dwarf stars within the globular cluster NGC 6752. 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. Almost all the stars astronomers measured in Bedin 1 are small and old, implying the dwarf galaxy made all its stars in a single burst of activity some 10 billion years ago. It measures only 3000 light years - a fraction of the size of the milky way.

Astronomers estimate Bedin 1's age at about 13 billion years and say it's been isolated from interactions with other galaxies. 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. The loner galaxy is in our own cosmic backyard, only 30 million light-years away (approximately 2,300 times farther than the foreground cluster).

The IAC researchers said: "Recovering this light, emitted by the stars in these outer zones, was equivalent to recovering the light from a complete galaxy". There's a chance this small swirl of stars may be connected to a larger nearby galaxy, but the two are far apart and it's not clear they have ever interacted.

Reference: These results will be published online January 31, 2019, in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters [https://academic.oup.com/mnrasl]. Within the Local Group of Galaxies, there are about 36 of the dwarf spheroidal type, and among them, 22 are satellite galaxies of the Milky Way.

The researchers that discovered Bedin-1 were really lucky to have stumbled on it by accident, because it's so small and faint it would probably never have been discovered on objective with current instruments. The cluster is located only 13,000 light-years away in our Milky Way galaxy in the direction of the constellation Pavo, but while checking out the cluster, astronomers noted a dense collection of fainter stars well beyond NGC 6752.

It's estimated to be roughly 13 billion years old based on the properties of its stars, meaning it is nearly as old as the universe itself.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a joint project between NASA and ESA.

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