Hubble telescope spots our galaxy’s newest neighbor

dwarf spheroidal galaxy KKs3

A camera aboard the Hubble Space Telescope snapped a negative image of KKs3 in August.

D. Makarov

The Milky Way galaxy has a new neighbor. The newcomer, called Kks3, is a tiny, isolated dwarf galaxy that sits almost 7 million light-years away in the constellation Hydrus. It’s low on the gas and dust needed to make new stars. But unlike other dwarfs like it, Kks3 doesn’t have a big companion galaxy stripping away those raw star-making materials. That may mean that there’s another way to create this kind of isolated dwarf galaxy — and it could offer clues to how galaxies in the universe form.

Astronomers describe the new galaxy December 21 in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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