14 June 2016
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), an independent agency of the United States executive branch has announced the discovery of another galaxy.
The galaxy discovered by their Hubble Space Telescope is an isolated dwarf galaxy known as UCG 4879 with a façade more different than the galaxies known to man.
A dwarf galaxy is a small galaxy composed of up to several billion stars, a small number compared to the Milky Way’s 200–400 billion stars.
According to NASA, these types of galaxies are smaller and irregular in nature, and because of its smaller nature, the façade appears a bit different than the existing galaxies.
“Galaxies of this type are a little smaller and messier than their cosmic cousins, lacking the majestic swirl of a spiral or the coherence of an elliptical,” said NASA and ESA in a joint statement published by TechTimes.
The isolated galaxy is about 2.3 million light-years away. This means that the new galaxy has not interacted with any other surrounding galaxies, free from outside factors.
This made it an ideal model for studying star formation, according to a press release by NASA.
Based on the findings, NASA believes that the UGC 4879 galaxy formed a huge amount of stars in the first four billion years after the Big Bang.
Then it was followed by a mysterious 9-billion years of silence in star formation and then proceeded to re-ignite.
This anomalous behaviour, which astronomers are yet to explain, is important for understanding the mysteries of star formation and birth in the universe.
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope was launched April 24, 1990, on the space shuttle Discovery from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It has made more than 1.2 million observations since its mission began in 1990.
Astronomers using Hubble data have published more than 12,800 scientific papers, making it one of the most productive scientific instruments ever built.
Though Hubble does not travel to stars, planets or galaxies, it takes pictures of them as it whirls around Earth at about 17,000 mph.
Hubble has traveled more than 3 billion miles along a circular low Earth orbit currently about 340 miles in altitude.