Monday, November 21, 2016

Record-Breaking Faint Satellite Galaxy of the Milky Way Discovered

An international team led by researchers from Tohoku University has found an extremely faint dwarf satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. The team's discovery is part of the ongoing Subaru Strategic Survey using Hyper Suprime-Cam.

This is the position of Virgo I in the constellation of Virgo (left). The right panel shows a density map of Virgo I's member stars in a 0.1 deg x 0.1 deg area. The color range from blue -> white -> yellow -> red indicates increasing density.

Tohoku University/NAOJ

The satellite, named Virgo I, lies in the direction of the constellation Virgo. At the absolute magnitude of -0.8 in the optical waveband, it may well be the faintest satellite galaxy yet found.

This is an artist's impression of Virgo I, demonstrated with Mitaka software.
Credit: Mitaka: 4D2U project, NAOJ

Its discovery suggests the presence of a large number of yet-undetected dwarf satellites in the halo of the Milky Way and provides important insights into galaxy formation through hierarchical assembly of dark matter.

Contacts and sources:
Hideaki Fujiwara
National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS)

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