Hubble Spots An Isolated Galaxy Pair Entering A Region Packed With Galaxies

Posted: Aug 13 2016, 3:16am CDT | by , Updated: Aug 13 2016, 3:19am CDT, in News | Latest Science News


Hubble Spots an Isolated Galaxy Pair Entering a Region Packed with Galaxies
Credit: NASA, ESA, and E. Tollerud (STScI)

Two tiny dwarf galaxies have wandered from a vast cosmic wilderness into a nearby galaxy "big city"

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has spotted a pair of galaxy that was wandering along in space for billions of years. But now they are heading into a nearby region packed with galaxies due to the pull of gravitational force. The newly arrived galaxies, called Pisces A and B, are now have a large amount of gases around them and they will likely spit out millions of stars in the near future.

Examining how these galaxies will adjust to their new home will help scientists better understand how galaxies grow big or evolve over the years.

“These Hubble images may be snapshots of what present-day dwarf galaxies may have been like at earlier epochs,” said lead researcher Erik Tollerud of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

“Studying these and other similar galaxies can provide further clues to dwarf galaxy formation and evolution.” 

A photo posted by NASA Goddard (@nasagoddard) on

Two tiny dwarf galaxies were originally located in Local Void which is a region in universe around 150 million light years across and is sparsely populated with galaxies. But the gravitational pull from denser areas of the universe has been steadily dragging dwarf galaxies and now these galaxies have got quite closer to the galaxy-rich region. The new place is filled with intergalactic gas and this gas-rich environment may trigger star formation process in those galaxies.

"These galaxies may have spent most of their history in the void," Tollerud explained. "If this is true, the void environment would have slowed their evolution.”

“The galaxies also are quite compact relative to the typical star-forming galaxies in our galactic neighborhood."

Scientists were able to spot those galaxies using radio telescopes by measuring the small blob of hydrogen gas near Milky Way. Most of those blobs turned out to be gas clouds within our galaxy. Still dozens were suspected as possible galaxies. Further analysis confirmed that two of them are indeed dwarf galaxies. 

Hubble observations help researchers determine the distance of those galaxies from the Earth. Pisces A is about 19 million light-years away from Earth while Pisces B roughly 30 million light-years away. Both host a very limited number of stars, indicating the galaxies are very young, less than 100 million years old.

Next, researchers are planning to peer through the depths of the universe again using Hubble’s sharp vision and they are hoping to find few more dwarf galaxies.





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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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