Zooming in on NGC 6752 and Bedin 1

03 February, 2019, 15:30 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • This image taken with Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys, shows a part the globular cluster NGC 6752. Behind the bright stars of the cluster a denser collection of faint stars is visible- the previously unknown dwarf spheroidal galaxy Bedin 1

The Hubble Space Telescope has just captured a new dwarf galaxy which is 30 million light-years away from the Milky Way.

The Hubble discovery was a delightful accident.

Accidentally stumbling across a nearby galaxy gives astronomers a hint that there may be many more galaxies of this type out there, just waiting to be found behind the nearest star cluster.

The ancient galaxy is one of the oldest and most isolated galaxies known to man, and was named after Luigi Bedin, a researcher at Italy's National Institute for Astrophysics who discovered it.

"As they merged to form larger galaxies the population density of galaxies in space dwindled". Relative to other galaxies in the universe, NASA says that Bedin 1 is essentially in our planet's own "cosmic backyard".

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Much closer to home are nebulae, star clusters, and assorted other foreground celestial objects that are mostly within our Milky Way galaxy.

The researchers that discovered Bedin-1 were really lucky to have stumbled on it by accident, because it's so small and faint it would probably never have been discovered on goal with current instruments. The human residents of the Milky Way galaxy are now saying hi to a neighboring galaxy we didn't even know existed.

Though it might be hard to imagine, astronomers stumbled on this galaxy by accident. Dwarf spheroidals are galaxies that are in retirement; the star formation party is over, and the stars that they do have are old and dim. Bedin 1 has sat quietly ever since, letting its massive stars burn out and die and making no new stars to replace them, unperturbed by the cosmic shuffle around it.

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.

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.

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