Russian Astronomers Spot Rare Dwarf Galaxy KKs3 Near Milky Way

December 24, 2014 7:58 PM

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Russian astronomers working with Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys have detected a rare dwarf galaxy right next to our very own Milky Way galaxy. This previously unknown galaxy has been named KKs3, and is estimated to only be about 7 million light years away. That may sound like a long distance, but that makes it a very close neighbor to our own galaxy. This rare discovery has lied right beneath our noses for decades, as astronomers previously believed that they had cataloged all of Earth’s closest neighbors.

The newly discovered KKs3 is a galaxy type known as “dwarf spheroidal” galaxies. It weighs in at roughly 1/10,000 the size of the Milky Way, which makes it fairly insignificant in size by galactic standards. Because it lacks the mass of most other galaxies, these dwarf galaxies emit a very dim light...

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