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Luigi Bedin, of the Astronomical Observatory of Padua, and his colleagues were using Hubble to study a globular star cluster called NGC 6752.

Bedin 1 is located "only" about 30 million light-years away, which puts its 2300 times farther away than the cluster visible in the foreground of the image above. And after carefully measuring the brightness and temperature of the background stars, they realized they had found something special - an entire galaxy that was hidden by the glare of NGC 6752. Bedin 1 is a fraction of the size of the Milky Way and is classified as a dwarf spheroidal galaxy.

The medium-sized, elongated galaxy measures approximately 3,000 light years at its widest, barely 1/30th of the diameter of the Milky Way.

Because of its 13-billion-year-old age, and its isolation - which resulted in hardly any interaction with other galaxies - the dwarf is the astronomical equivalent of a living fossil from the early universe.

"In a celestial game of 'Where's Waldo?' Hubble's sharp vision uncovered a never-before-seen dwarf galaxy located far behind the cluster's crowded stellar population", NASA said on Thursday.

Using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, scientists have discovered a new dwarf galaxy relatively near the Milky Way. These faint stars were being studied so that scientists could better gauge how old the cluster was as a whole, but that's when they noticed what appeared to be a galaxy that had yet to be documented. Granted, galaxies are anything but "small", but compared to our absolute unit of a galaxy, Bedin 1 is a featherweight. Not only is it one of just a few dwarf spheroidals that have a well established distance but it is also extremely isolated. It's thought that Bedin 1 is the most isolated dwarf galaxy known to exist. It lies about 30 million light-years from the Milky Way and 2 million light-years from the nearest plausible large galaxy host, NGC 6744.

The team added: "The discovery of Bedin 1 was a truly serendipitous find".

The different wavelength observations allow viewers to examine the galaxy's structure, discerning between older and younger stars, and spot features, such black holes and nebulas.

The Hubble Space Telescope was launched into orbit in 1990, where it has remained in the decades since.


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