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Tiny & # 39; Oddball & # 39; galaxy discovered lurking in our cosmic backyard



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By David Freeman

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have just made an unexpected discovery: a group of stars that is considered part of our own Milky Way galaxy, In fact, this includes a previously unknown galaxy located 30 million light-years away in an unusually isolated region of space.

The international team investigated a star cluster called NGC 6752, which lies about 1

3,000 light years away on the edge of the West Milky Way. After analyzing the brightness and temperature of the stars, scientists found that they viewed objects about 2,300 times farther than originally thought.

"This was a truly fortuitous find," Luigi "Rolly" Bedin, an astronomer of the world The astronomical observatory of Padua, Italy, notified NBC News MACH in an e-mail. Bedin is the leader of the team and the lead author of a paper describing the discovery. The document was published Thursday in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

This composite image shows the position of the randomly discovered dwarf galaxy Bedin 1 behind the globular cluster NGC 6752. The bottom image representing the entire cluster is a ground-based observation. The image at the top right shows the entire field of view of the Hubble Space Telescope. The upper left area shows the part containing the galaxy Bedin 1. ESA / Hubble, NASA, Bedin et al.,

The newly discovered galaxy, named Bedin 1, sees recognition of the scientist's unique role in his discovery as small and weak, even under Hubble's high magnification , And no wonder: it is about 30 times smaller than the Milky Way and a thousand times weaker.

In contrast to the Milky Way, which is a kind of spiral galaxy, Bedin 1 is roughly spherical – which astronomers call a dwarf-sphere galaxy. It is one of 36 such galaxies known in the so-called Local Group of Galaxies, including the Milky Way and the neighboring Andromeda galaxy.

It is believed that the galaxy is about 13 billion years old and thus "lives" fossil from the early universe.

It is believed that the universe itself is about 13.8 billion years old. "

"It's fun to find something interesting in your garden that you never knew existed," says Jay Pasachoff, an astronomer at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, who was not involved in the new investigation. NBC News MACH announced in an email. "The field of view of the Hubble Space Telescope, perhaps that of a grain of rice at arm's length, is so small that it is rare for an additional object to look in, but this is the case this time."

Such discoveries may not be so rare in the near future. NASA plans to launch its new Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) in the mid-2020s, and Bedin said in the email that the space telescope still under development – its field of view is 100 times larger will be as Hubble's – "Perhaps you will still find many of these strange bullets."

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