Astronomers Have Spotted Nine Dwarf Galaxies Circling Our Milky Way
There are couple of galaxies which are gravitationally bounded to our Milky way. Dozens of dwarf galaxies, which are defined as small celestial objects orbiting larger galaxies, were found in 2005 and 2006.
But we didn’t realize many of Milky Way’s neighboring galaxies remained hidden in the last decade. Now finally, astronomers from the University of Cambridge have found that there are nine dwarf galaxies giving company to our dear Milky Way — each residing at a distance of 95,000 to 1.2 million light years.
Under the leadership of Dr. Sergey Koposov of Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy, the study’s lead author, the astronomers were able to make the barely anticipated discovery by virtue of Dark Energy Survey. This survey was a five-year project with purpose to capture southern sky.
The newly discovered galaxies possess very less number of stars as compared to our Milky Way. Milk Way has 200 billion to 400 billion stars, whereas dwarf galaxies merely contain around 5000 stars. Which is understandable because of their size differences.
What the dwarf galaxies can make easy to understand is the theories of dark matter. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that, with an extensive research, detection of elusive particles is also possible.
“Dwarf satellites are the final frontier for testing our theories of dark matter,” said Dr. Vasily Belokurov from the Institute of Astronomy, who is also a co-author of the study. “We need to find them to determine whether our cosmological picture makes sense.”
Well, all this depends on the research activities of the astronomers. Often they went on a different mission and came up with a different output all together which happened to be more worthy to study than the original subject.
Discovery of nine dwarf galaxies has also surprised the astronomers. “The discovery of so many satellites in such a small area of the sky was completely unexpected,I could not believe my eyes,” Dr Sergey said.
The astronomers have given absolute confirmation of three galaxies being dwarf, while other six, they believe, can possibly be dwarf galaxies or globular clusters. Both dwarf galaxies and globular clusters are same apparently but the latter don’t contain adhesive dark matter.
These 9 dwarf galaxies make the total number of discovered dwarf satellite galaxies circling Milkay Way, 30. However, scientists believe that, though they are difficult to locate, there are hundreds of dwarf galaxies orbiting Milky Way.