Sep 9, 2009

Mini-Galaxies Orbiting Milky Way

One of the misconceptions about astronomers is that they're merely stargazers, peering into telescopes at night, scanning the skies for new information. That's not entirely true. The telescopes that have been built for scientific purposes generally scan very specific places in space. That's perhaps why we occasionally find objects "near" us, if you count the outer edges of our galaxy anywhere near us.

That includes a potential hidden mini-galaxy orbiting our own. It may take more research to define it as such, but early indications tell us that it may indeed be a galaxy orbiting the Milky Way.

The satellite's immense invisibility could be because of it's location in the plane of the galaxy: instead of conveniently swinging far "above" or "below" the galactic discs as the other satellites are considerate enough to do, the missing mass is predicted to be on the other side of the Milky Way. Meaning we have the entirety of almost every local star in the sky between us and it, and if it's made up of old or burned-out stars it won't emit enough light for detection until it orbits round to our side again. Which'll be a job for our great-great-great-greatest-to-the-nth-degree descendants to detect.

Hidden Galaxy Discovered Orbiting the Milky Way

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