Updated 01:35 PM EDT, Wed, Sep 22, 2021

New Galaxy Discovered: Hubble Space Telescope ACS Captures Milky Way's New Neighbor

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Things closest to us tend to bring the greatest of surprises, much like the newly-discovered galaxy KKs3, described to be situated at our very own Milky Way's backyard. According to Discovery News, astronomers have spotted the celestial configuration via Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS).

As told by the outlet, the galaxy belongs to the famous Local Group, composed of 50 known galaxies, including the Milky Way and Andromeda.

The KKs3 was said to be located in the direction of the southern constellation of Hydrus. Translating 7 million light years to miles, we get an eye-rolling result of 41,150,377,612,285,256,000 mi (converted via calculateme). Nevertheless, the Los Angeles Times called the galaxy our "neighbor."

On the other hand, the spiral Andromeda galaxy is about 2.5 million light years away from Earth, wrote BBC. The source noted that Andromeda is the nearest galaxy to our planet, apart from smaller companion galaxies (e.g. Magellanic Clouds).

Discovery News indicated that KKs3 is one type that belongs to "dwarf" galaxies (specifically dwarf-spheroidal). Accordingly, these very old bodies lack the gas and dust necessary for the creation of new stars. Detecting them was also noted to be difficult, since their stars are dim, resulting from old age.

With such evidence, the KKs3 may not be as new as imagined. As told by the LA Times, astronomers, headed by Igor Karachentse of the Special Astrophysical Observatory in Russia, revealed that 74% of the galaxy's star mass were formed at least 12 billion years ago, described to be the universe's "early years."

International Business Times reported that KKs3 is the second dwarf spheroidal galaxy spotted in the Local Group, the first being KKR25 (1999). The same group of scientists was credited to make the earlier discovery.

Hubble team member Prof. Dimitry Makarov explained in a statement that it's all hard work, "Finding objects like KKs3 is painstaking work, even with observatories like the Hubble Space Telescope. But with persistence, we're slowly building up a map of our local neighborhood, which turns out to be less empty than we thought."

As it turns out, Makarov's team is prepared to see more. The scientist added, "It may be that [there] are a huge number of dwarf spheroidal galaxies out there, something that would have profound consequences for our ideas about the evolution of the cosmos."

The research was originally published in the December edition of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, which you can find here.

See the image of KKs3 here (via Royal Astronomical Society; Credit: Dimitry Makarov).

In the meantime, check out SpaceRip's documentary of a supermassive black hole below.

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