Written by April Ryder | published
Astronomers have discovered a new dwarf galaxy in the universe that has not been discovered for generations due to its strange composition and faint appearance. The small galaxy has been named Nube (or “cloud” in Spanish).
Under the scope of astronomers, the dwarf galaxy is almost invisible and cannot be explained by current understanding of the universe. It's so faint, in fact, that researchers have not yet been able to determine the exact location of the galaxy.
The newly discovered dwarf galaxy was described in a study published in January 2024 as a “diffuse” mass, meaning that the stars forming a cluster are so widely spread that the galaxy barely emits any light at all.
Until now, the scientific understanding of how a galaxy is built says that there should be a heavier concentration of light in the center of the galaxy, and it should fade the further away you look from the center.
Under the scope of astronomers, the dwarf galaxy is almost invisible and cannot be explained by current understanding of the universe.
There must be a bright celestial body in the middle of the formation to provide the necessary gravity to hold the galaxy together, which may explain why Nube is 10 times wider than it “should” be according to science. The dwarf galaxy is also 10 times darker than expected from a galaxy of this size.
“With our current knowledge, we do not understand how a galaxy with such extreme properties could exist,” said the study's lead astrophysicist, Mireya Montes. Mireia Montes devoted a large part of her life to studying the universe at the Institute of Astrophysics in the Canary Islands.
The discovery of the new dwarf galaxy came when Montes and her team were reanalyzing some old data collected by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The Sloan Digital Sky Survey is a highly detailed astronomical database of our night sky.
It's so faint, in fact, that researchers have not yet been able to determine the exact location of the galaxy.
While looking through historical data, an inconsistency was noted. After taking a closer look at the anomaly through a multicolor imaging telescope, researchers were able to definitively classify the anomaly as a dwarf galaxy, even though it defies some of the established rules of thumb established by astronomical science.
Although the dwarf galaxy's exact location in the universe cannot really be determined due to its faint appearance, researchers have gathered enough information to confirm that the anomaly may be about 300 million light-years away from the Milky Way which is about a third the size of our galaxy. galaxy.
Observing Nobby's structure, scientists cannot conclusively explain how the dwarf galaxy is held together. With so little mass at its center, one might think there wouldn't be enough gravity generated to maintain the galaxy's structure, but Nobby is there nonetheless.
“With our current knowledge, we do not understand how a galaxy with such extreme properties could exist.”
Mireya Montes, the lead astrophysicist on the study
Astronomers usually explain Nobi's gravitational anomaly through the presence of dark matter. Dark matter is a very mysterious type of matter, thought to make up about 27 percent of the mass of the known universe. However, current understanding of dark matter suggests that there is not enough of it in the dwarf galaxy to explain its unusual properties.
Whatever the reason for Nobby's strange properties, astronomers are now searching for more dwarf galaxies with a similar structure. Finding more galaxies like Nube will help expand current understanding, and open new horizons for the future of astronomical studies.
source: Astronomy and astrophysics
“Infuriatingly humble alcohol fanatic. Unapologetic beer practitioner. Analyst.”