Hey, is that a new galaxy?

Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have made an unexpected finding – a dwarf galaxy in our cosmic backyard, only 30 million light-years away. 

This picture shows a part of the globular cluster NGC 6752, which is what they were actually studying. But behind those bright stars a denser collection of faint stars is visible. That’s the previously unknown dwarf spheroidal galaxy now known as Bedin 1.

While dwarf spheroidal galaxies are not uncommon, Bedin 1 has some notable features. It is one of just a few that have a well-established distance, and it is extremely isolated – about 30 million light-years from the Milky Way and two million light-years from the nearest plausible large galaxy host, NGC 6744. 

The picture was taken with Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys and the finding is reported in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters.

The discovery is considered truly fortuitous, as very few Hubble images allow such faint objects to be seen.

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