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Hubble Accidentally Discovers An Ancient, Nearby Dwarf Galaxy
03 February 2019, 03:29 | Edward Lowe
Zooming in on NGC 6752 and Bedin 1
Astronomers have often noted evidence of smaller galaxies being pulled apart or consumed by larger ones. An worldwide team of astronomers was using Hubble'sAdvanced Camera for Surveys instrument to study white dwarfs - superdense stellar corpses - in the globular cluster NGC 6752, which is part of 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.
Our Milky Way galaxy has another neighbor. 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. 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! It measures only around 3000 light-years at its greatest extent - a fraction of the size of the Milky Way. Unbelievable footage from NASA shows the camera zooming in on the "tiny" galaxy, dubbed "Bedin 1", surrounded by thousands of dazzling stars. This makes it possibly the most isolated small dwarf galaxy discovered to date.
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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.
"The discovery of Bedin 1 was a truly serendipitous find", the ESA said.
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According to an academic paper published by Bedin and astronomers from Italy, the UK, Germany and the United States, the newly discovered galaxy consists mostly of red giants, and is located some 28.38 million light years from Earth, and at least 2.12 million light years from its neighbour, NGC 6744.
An upcoming NASA telescope, WFIRST, could help find many of those hypothetical hiding galaxies. "Because of its isolation - which resulted in hardly any interaction with other galaxies - and its age, Bedin 1 is the astronautical equivalent of a living fossil from the early Universe", Hubble's website explained.
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