- The newly discovered galaxy was spotted in the globular cluster NGC 6752
- It’s estimated to be about 13 billion years old, making it from the early universe
- Researchers found it while they were attempting to determine age of cluster
Astronomers have stumbled upon a previously-unnoticed dwarf galaxy in our ‘cosmic backyard.’
A team using the Hubble Space Telescope initially set out to determine the age of a globular cluster by measuring its faintest stars.
But in doing that, they discovered a small galaxy measuring just 3,000 light-years at its widest point.
According to the experts, the faint galaxy could be around 13 billion years old – making it almost as old as the universe itself.
The newly discovered galaxy was spotted in the globular cluster NGC 6752.
The team has since dubbed it Bedin 1.
Spheroidal dwarf galaxies such as Bedin 1 are a relatively common sight throughout the universe – but, the new galaxy discovered on the outer fringes of Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys stands out from the rest.
Though it’s estimated to be about 13 billion years old, it appears to have had little interaction with other galaxies.
‘While dwarf spheroidal galaxies are not uncommon, Bedin 1 has some notable features,’ according to the Hubble team.
‘Not only is it one of just a few dwarf spheroidals that have a well-established distance but it is also extremely isolated.
‘It lies about 30 million light-years from the Milky Way and 2 million light-years from the nearest plausible large galaxy host, NG 6744.
‘This makes it possible the most isolated small dwarf galaxy discovered to date.’
Bedin 1 is extremely faint, according to the Hubble team, and only measures 3,000 light-years across at most.