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The Milky Way’s Ghostly Neighbor

29 Nov 2018, 18:05 UTC
The Milky Way’s Ghostly Neighbor
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Title: The hidden giant: discovery of an enormous Galactic dwarf
satellite in Gaia DR2Authors: G. Torrealba, V. Belokurov, S. E. Koposov, T. S. Li, M. G. Walker, J. L. Sanders, A. Geringer-Sameth, D. B. Zucker, K. Kuehn, N. W. Evans, W. DehnenFirst Author’s Institution: Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Academia Sinica, Taipei, TaiwanStatus: Submitted to MNRAS (open access)

An international team of scientists has discovered a curious new galactic neighbor. Antila 2 (or Ant 2 for short) is a dwarf galaxy unlike any previously detected. Its area is similar to that of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC; the largest satellite of the Milky Way) and about a third the size of the Milky Way itself, but it contains about 10,000 times fewer stars than the LMC. This relatively small number of stars spread across this large area causes Ant 2 to appear almost ghostly – a faint, diffuse shadow of a galaxy (Figure 1). For this reason, along with the fact that Ant 2 is partially hidden behind the bright disk of the Milky Way, Ant 2 was much more difficult to detect than similarly-sized galaxies like the LMC. Furthermore, this hard-to-find, unusual galaxy does not fit neatly into commonly ...

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