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Tim Kendall's Extreme Astrophysics

A wide-field view of the Sculptor dwarf galaxy

14 Nov 2015, 10:40 UTC
A wide-field view of the Sculptor dwarf galaxy
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This image of the sky around the Sculptor Dwarf Galaxy, a close neighbour of our galaxy, the Milky Way, was created from pictures from the Digitized Sky Survey 2. Despite their close proximity, both galaxies have very distinct histories and characters. Credit: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2

This galaxy is much smaller and older than the Milky Way, making it a valuable subject for studying both star and galaxy formation in the early Universe. However, due to its faintness, studying this object is no easy task. The Sculptor Dwarf Galaxy — also known as the Sculptor Dwarf Elliptical or the Sculptor Dwarf Spheroidal — is a dwarf spheroidal galaxy, and is one of the fourteen (and counting) known satellite galaxies orbiting the Milky Way. These galactic hitchhikers are located close by in the Milky Way’s extensive halo, a spherical region extending far beyond our galaxy’s spiral arms. As indicated by its name, this galaxy is located in the southern constellation of Sculptor and lies about 280 000 light-years away from Earth. Despite its proximity, the galaxy was only discovered in 1937, as its stars are faint and spread thinly across the sky. Although difficult to pick out, the Sculptor Dwarf Galaxy ...

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