A team of astronomers recently announced the discovery of a small galaxy hidden behind the giant Andromeda. An observation that will allow scientists to learn more about the formation process of galaxies.
It has always been difficult for astronomers to inventory the most distant galaxies due to the massive amount of gas and dust blocking our view. That’s why we probably do not have the addresses of all the residents of our cosmopolitan district today. Thus, the discovery of a dwarf spheroidal galaxy, nestled behind the galaxy Andromeda, constitutes a great advancement in our process to acquire more knowledge on the formation of stars. She has just been baptized Donatiello I.
“There is a difference between the observed number of low mass systems in the local group and its surroundings and that predicted in cosmological simulations,” says David Martínez-Delgado of the Astronomy Center at the University of Heidelberg (Germany), lead author of the study published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. “A complete census of dwarf galaxies is needed to understand the real origin of this problem. The census of dwarf galaxies can shed light on key questions about the formation and evolution of galaxies. ”
The discovery here is to the credit of an amateur astronomer – named Giuseppe Donatiello, who managed to detect the object by capturing a mosaic of deep images of the Andromeda galaxy. By analyzing these images, he then saw the presence of an object in the background, close to Beta Andromedae (an Andromeda star). Follow-up observations by researchers at the University of Heidelberg then confirmed the presence of the object. The newly discovered dwarf galaxy is located about 10 million light years from Earth.
“I literally jumped for joy,” enthused Giuseppe Donatiello. “I have always had a great interest in the local group and for dwarf galaxies in general, so finding one of these systems is really a huge joy.”
All we know for the moment is that “Donatiello I probably already stopped his star formation a long time ago,” continues David Martínez-Delgado. “On the other hand, there is no interaction with the massive host galaxies here, so it’s not so easy to explain how the galaxy lost its gas a long time ago.” Researchers are now hoping to learn more about this galaxy with the Hubble Space Telescope. These next observations could then be used to test the theories of star formation in low mass systems.
As for our amateur astronomer, he will continue his research: “I have always had a great interest in dwarf galaxies, so I will continue in this direction,” he said.