Hubble fortuitously discovers a new galaxy in the cosmic neighborhood

Zooming in on NGC 6752 and Bedin 1

The discovery was made by an worldwide team of astronomers who had been utilizing the Hubble to observe some of the oldest and faintest white dwarf stars within the globular cluster NGC 6752.

In the outer fringes of the observed area, a compact collection of stars was visible. And after carefully measuring the brightness and temperature of the background stars, they realized they had found something special - an entire galaxy that was hidden by the glare of NGC 6752.

Our newly discovered cosmic neighbour, nicknamed Bedin 1 by the astronomers, is a modestly sized, elongated galaxy. It measures only 3000 light years - a fraction of the size of the milky way.

Astronomers attempting to measure the age of a "globular cluster" of stars using the Hubble telescope have discovered a very dim and distant galaxy which may prove to be one of the oldest celestial fossils known to mankind. They found a dwarf galaxy in our cosmic backyard which is around 30 million light-years away, The finding is reported in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters. Myriad island cities of stars, the galaxies, form a backdrop tapestry.




The images, recorded by observatories in three different wavelengths, allow viewers to examine the structure of the galaxy, discerning between older and younger stars, and spot features like black holes and nebulas.

Dwarf spheroidal galaxies are not uncommon: There are at least 36 in our Local Group of galaxies. And that's what makes Bedin 1 so interesting for astronomers.

It's estimated to be roughly 13 billion years old based on the properties of its stars, meaning it is nearly as old as the universe itself. 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. Not only is it one of just a few dwarf spheroidals that have a well established distance but it is also extremely isolated. The galaxy's isolation means it rarely interacted with other galaxies, making it the equivalent of an early universe "living fossil", the space agency explains.

The tiny galaxy is truly off on its own, and is roughly two million light years from the nearest large galaxy, so it's something of a time capsule that dates back billions and billions of years.

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