Space

Hubble telescope accidentally discovered a tiny galaxy near the Milky Way

Modern astronomy really has reachedvery high technological level. Due to this we can observe the phenomena and phenomena that occurred at a distance of more than 13 billion light years. We have seen neutron stars collide; at the moment we are trying to determine the exact nature and source of fast mysterious radio bursts (FRB) and, possibly, already this year we will be able to see the horizon of a black hole for the first time. The universe is huge and full of mysteries that we have yet to solve. But a recent discovery proves that some puzzles may be literally hidden under our noses, and their detection may be commonplace in the case.

Observing with the help of the Hubble Space Telescopebehind the globular cluster NGC 6752, located about 13 thousand light years from us inside the halo of the Milky Way, astronomers made an unexpected discovery - a small dim galaxy, located just 30 million light years from Earth.

“The main goal of our work was to determinethe age of one of the globular clusters of the Milky Way, 13.5 thousand light-years distant from us, for which we studied the population of white dwarfs in it. However, looking through the data, we unexpectedly noticed a compact group of stars. After a thorough analysis of their brightness and temperature, it became clear that these luminaries do not belong to the cluster of NGC 6752, but are several million light-years further, ”scientists write in an article published by the journal of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The researchers found that Bedin 1 is verya tiny, extremely isolated and very ancient galaxy. Its dimensions are only 3,000 light years, which is 10 times smaller than our Milky Way. However, it is about 1000 times dimmer than our galaxy. The object was classified as a dwarf spheroidal galaxy, for which, in addition to its small size, there is also the absence of galactic dust and star formation.

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Usually dwarf spheroidal galaxiesare located next to larger galaxies or clusters (for example, out of 36 detected galaxies of this type, 22 of them are satellites of our Milky Way), but Bedin 1 is completely different in this respect. The closest NGC 6744 galaxy is about 2 million light-years away.

Using photometric methods, scientistsidentified low metal content in the galaxy. And since the propagation of heavy elements (for example, metals) in the Universe occurs with the death of stars, within which these elements form, their low concentration in Bedin 1 may indicate that there are a lot of old stars in the galaxy.

Having determined the properties of Bedin 1 stars, scientists alsoWere able to establish the approximate age of this tiny galaxy. It is 13 billion years old. Add here another 0.8 billion - get the age of the universe. Considering all these features, Bedin 1 can be considered as the astronomical equivalent of a “fossil” from the era of the early Universe.

Another fact cannot but surprise. Given the distance to the object, its isolation from other galaxies, its low brightness and its secrecy behind the light of the brighter stars located in front of it - surprisingly, it was discovered at all, especially by Hubble, which is almost 30 years old.

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