Read aloud Astronomers have discovered a neighboring galaxy of the Milky Way: The dwarf galaxy is located in the constellation Big Dog and is about 42, 000 light-years from the center of the Milky Way. This makes it closer to our home galaxy than all previously known star systems. With its much larger mass, the Milky Way is attracting its little neighbor and putting it to work, reports the Royal Astronomical Society in London. The dwarf galaxy is a cosmic lightweight with about a billion stars. The gravity of the Milky Way has already torn apart the star system. Its former center was found by the scientists around Rodrigo Ibata from the Observatory in Strasbourg in the constellation Big Dog. From this center, star trails drag into the outer regions of the Milky Way. However, some of these stars could also pass our sun, astronomers suspect. Our solar system is about 25, 000 light-years away from the dissolving galaxy.

Dense dust clouds in the Milky Way had hitherto hidden the dwarf galaxy from the eyes of astronomers. Only with infrared light could Ibata and his colleagues penetrate this haze and discover the small galaxy. Astronomers have recently observed a similar collision of the Sagittarius galaxy with the Milky Way galaxy.

ddp / bdw? Katharina Vogelmann


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