Sunday 21 December, 2014

Meet seven new ‘ghostly’ dwarf galaxies

Published On: Fri, Jul 11th, 2014 | Astronomy and Space | By BioNews

Using a new type of telescope made by stitching together telephoto lenses, astronomers have discovered seven dwarf galaxies while probing a nearby spiral galaxy.

They were previously overlooked because of their diffused nature: The ghostly galaxies emerged from the night sky as the team obtained the first observation from the telescope.

The discovery came quickly in a relatively small section of sky.

The previously unseen galaxies may yield important insights into the dark matter and galaxy evolution, while possibly signalling the discovery of a new class of objects in the space.

“We got an exciting result in our first images,” said Allison Merritt from Yale University in the US.

“It was very exciting. It speaks about the quality of the telescope.”

Pieter van Dokkum, chairman of Yale’s astronomy department, designed the robotic telescope with astronomer Roberto Abraham from the University of Toronto.

Their Dragonfly Telephoto Array uses eight telephoto lenses with special coatings that suppress internally scattered light. This makes the telescope uniquely adept at detecting the very diffused, low surface brightness of the newly discovered galaxies.

The findings appeared in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

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