The Hubble telescope still delivers many surprises. During an observation mission, the telescope detected a hitherto unknown galaxy to astronomers.
While the Hubble telescope was carrying out observations on a globular cluster, it captured a rather unexpected object, a small galaxy called Bedin, located about 30 million light-years from us. This cosmic assemblage of stars, gases and dust tell us more about the origins of our universe.
A dwarf galaxy
By turning its mirrors toward the globular cluster NGC 6752, the Hubble telescope was able to detect the new galaxy. “We report the discovery of Bedin 1, a spherical dwarf galaxy too weak and too close to the heart of NGC 6752 to be detected in previous observations,” say the researchers.
Bedin is just around 3000 light-years wide (the Milky Way is around 100,000 light-years wide), and its brightness is about 1000 times lower than that of our galaxy. Normally spheroidal dwarf galaxies are associated with larger galaxies, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with Bedin 1, which is 2 million light-years away from the nearest potential host galaxy NGC 6744
As old as the world
Thanks to its light spectrum, researchers were able to establish that Bedin has a very low metal concentration. They are created by the life cycle of stars and spread though the universe only upon the death stars, suggesting that Bedin 1 consists of very old stars.
The team estimated that the galaxy is around 13 billion years old, a mere 800 million years after the big bang. It is possible that this could be a cosmic time capsule for those astronomers wanting to study the early years of our universe.
The distance to Bedin 1 and its low brightness makes it all the more exceptional. After 30 years of activity, the Hubble telescope still seems to have more surprises to deliver.
Take a look at the video above to see more!