Clean Freak Is Milky Way’s Neighbour Galaxy

Posted: Jan 28 2016, 3:59am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

Clean Freak is Milky Way’s Neighbour Galaxy
Many galaxies are chock-full of dust, while others have occasional dark streaks of opaque cosmic soot swirling in amongst their gas and stars. However, the subject of this new image, snapped with the OmegaCAM camera on ESO’s VLT Survey Telescope in Chile, is unusual — the small galaxy, named IC 1613, is a veritable clean freak! IC 1613 contains very little cosmic dust, allowing astronomers to explore its contents with great clarity. Credit: ESO

It has been found that the galaxy lying right next to our Milky Way is a clean freak of sorts. That is because it lacks any dust.

Galaxies normally have a lot of stuff inside them. From stars, planets and gas all the way to dust, they are jam-packed with all sorts of objects. But the neighboring galaxy to our Milky Way does not have any dust in it.

Thus it seems to be a clean freak galaxy as compared to ours. It is a dwarf galaxy and known as IC 1613. And it lies in the constellation known as Cetus (The Sea Monster).

Due to the clean cut image of this galaxy, astronomers have been able to gaze into the infinite depths of this other-world. Its stars are crystal clear and can be observed with sharp focus.

This small galaxy happens to be 2.3 million light years away from us. Thus it lies in what is know as the Local Group which consists of 50 galaxies.

According to ESO, the galaxy’s position has been fixed thanks to observations of the Cepheid variable and RR Lyrae variable stars which it contains.

These stars glow hot and cold. And their on and off status allows astronomers to use them as a reference point. Their measured pulsations are dependent upon their level of brightness.

Via simple calculations the brightness of these stars can be used to estimate their distance from our galaxy. The distance of IC 1613 can be measured with precision thanks to its dust-free nature too.

IC 1613 was observed through the giant OmegaCAM affixed to the VLT Survey Telescope at Paranal Observatory in Chile. This clean freak galaxy was observed for the first time in 1906 by the German astronomer, Max Wolf.

Its stars weren’t seen until 1928 when they were gazed upon in wonderment from the Mount Wilson Observatory in California. In current times, the galaxy can be seen with such clarity that its beauty and amazing pics can be appreciated by all thanks to powerful telescopes and color cameras.

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