Hubble finds dwarf galaxy in our cosmic neighbourhood | newkerala.com #96974

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The small galaxy, described as a "living fossil", was found in the globular cluster NGC 6752 using the Hubble Space Telescope.

In the outer fringes of the observed area, a compact collection of stars was visible.

"Our newly discovered cosmic neighbour, nicknamed Bedin 1 by the astronomers, is a modestly sized, elongated galaxy", explains the official Hubble website.

"It measures only around 3,000 light-years at its greatest extent (barely 1/30th the diameter of the Milky Way)", NASA said.

Astronomers estimate Bedin 1's age at about 13 billion years and say it's been isolated from interactions with other galaxies. In a celestial game of "Where's Waldo?", Hubble's sharp vision uncovered a never-before-seen dwarf galaxy located far behind the cluster's crowded stellar population.

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The Hubble Space Telescope has just captured a new dwarf galaxy which is 30 million light-years away from the Milky Way. There's no telling just how many other tiny galaxies are hiding behind star clusters just waiting to be found.

Reference: These results will be published online January 31, 2019, in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters [https://academic.oup.com/mnrasl]. Their aim was to measure the age of the cluster by using these stars, but they unexpectedly found a dwarf galaxy in our cosmic backyard.

Dwarf spheroidal galaxies are not uncommon: There are at least 36 in our Local Group of galaxies. This makes it possibly the most isolated small dwarf galaxy discovered to date.

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. And when they looked at the images Hubble sent back, they noticed a small galaxy hiding behind the cluster's brighter stars. It lies about 30 million light-years from the Milky Way and 2 million light-years from the nearest plausible large galaxy host, NGC 6744.

The astronomers also note that a survey planned for the upcoming Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST, planned to launch in the mid-2020's) may find more of these small, hermit-like galaxies.

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