Astronomers discover new dwarf galaxy using Hubble Space Telescope

Katie Ramirez
February 3, 2019

European and American researchers made the astounding find while examining images of a globular cluster of stars known as NGC 6752. The loner galaxy is in our own cosmic backyard, only 30 million light-years away (approximately 2,300 times farther than the foreground cluster).

An global team of astronomers recently used the telescope to study white dwarf stars in the NGC 6752.

Nestled behind the cluster's crowded star population, a dwarf galaxy was spotted for the first time, NASA said.

The collection of stars at the edge of the area was analyzed and deemed that they were not part of the cluster contained in the Milky Way, but a small galaxy which is nearly 30 million light-years away. 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.

Our newly discovered cosmic neighbour, nicknamed Bedin 1 by the astronomers, is a modestly sized, elongated galaxy.

"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", Hubble team members wrote in a statement. They're also fairly common in our Local Group of galaxies - we know of 36 galaxies of this type and 22 of them are in orbit around our galaxy! The researchers published their findings in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters. Not only is it tiny, but it is also incredibly faint.

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

But Bedin 1 stands out from the crowd.

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 13.1 billion-year-old galaxy has been named Bedin 1, and according to NASA it is a "living fossil" from the early universe.

Last month, NASA and the ESA released the most detailed image of our close neighbor, the Triangulum Galaxy, located a mere 3 million light years from Earth.

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