Sunday, 18 August, 2019


Hubble Accidentally Finds Entire Galaxy Lurking Behind a Cluster of Stars

Hubble Accidentally Finds Entire Galaxy Lurking Behind a Cluster of Stars Hubble Accidentally Finds Entire Galaxy Lurking Behind a Cluster of Stars
Kristine Garrett | 04 February, 2019, 17:10

This happened when astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope to photograph the globular star cluster NGC 6752 (located 13,000 light-years away in our Milky Way's halo).

While searching the globular cluster NGC 6752, an global team of scientists discovered a compact collection of stars millions of light years away. They analyzed the brightness and temperatures of the stars and later found that they did not belong to the globular cluster, which is part of the Milky Way.

"It measures only around 3,000 light-years at its greatest extent (barely 1/30th the diameter of the Milky Way)", NASA said. The astronomers have classified it as a dwarf spheroidal galaxy which is defined by their small size, low-luminosity, lack of dust and old stellar populations.

NASA says the dim galaxy is in our "cosmic backyard" at just 30 million light-years away.

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. Pictured: In this composite image provided by NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team, the Barred Spiral Galaxy (NGC 6217) in the Ursa Minor constellation is pictured in Space. Granted, galaxies are anything but "small", but compared to our absolute unit of a galaxy, Bedin 1 is a featherweight. These faint stars were being studied so that scientists could better gauge how old the cluster was as a whole, but that's when they noticed what appeared to be a galaxy that had yet to be documented. Bedin 1 is very isolated and is also one of the very few of its type that have a well-established distance. This makes it possibly the most isolated small dwarf galaxy discovered to date.

The discovery of Bedin 1 was a truly serendipitous find.

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.

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".

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