While studying the ancient white dwarf stars in the bright globular cluster NGC 6752, in an effort to gain an accurate measure of the cluster's age, they noticed something amiss in the background.
While searching the globular cluster NGC 6752, an worldwide team of scientists discovered a compact collection of stars millions of light years away.
The galaxy, dubbed Bedin 1 by its discoverer, is distinct in its isolation.
Dwarf spheroidal galaxies are defined by their small size, low-luminosity, lack of dust and old stellar populations .
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From the properties of its stars, astronomers were able to infer that the galaxy is around 13 billion years old - almost as old as the Universe itself. They wanted to measure the age of the cluster but instead found a dwarf galaxy.
The researchers that discovered Bedin-1 were really lucky to have stumbled on it by accident, because it's so small and faint it would probably never have been discovered on objective with current instruments. Scientists were studying the globular cluster NGC 6752 and made an 'unexpected discovery, ' writes the press release on Hubble Space Telescope.
The tiny galaxy is truly off on its own, and is roughly two million light years from the nearest large galaxy, so it's something of a time capsule that dates back billions and billions of years. It's thought that Bedin 1 is the most isolated dwarf galaxy known to exist.
"Very few Hubble images allow such faint objects to be seen, and they cover only a small area of the sky", said the European Space Agency.
Today, September 9, 2009, NASA released the first images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope since its fix in the spring.
The IAC researchers said: "Recovering this light, emitted by the stars in these outer zones, was equivalent to recovering the light from a complete galaxy".