Snake in the clouds: a new dwarf galaxy in the Magellanic Bridge


An international group of astronomers has reported the discovery of a new dwarf galaxy inside the so – called Magellanic Bridge, a gas stream that connects two Magellanic clouds. This newly discovered galaxy (circled in red in the photo), dubbed the southern Hydra 1, is described in a new research paper by a team led by Sergey E. Koposov (Sergey E. Koposov) from the University of Carnegie Mellon, USA.

This new galaxy is located in the sky in the direction of a small constellation of the southern hemisphere called South Hydra. Since Hydra is a sea snake, astronomers dubbed the galaxy they found a "snake in the clouds".

Observations of the galaxy South Hydra 1 were carried out using the dark Energy Camera (DECam), installed on a 4-meter telescope. Blanco, located at the inter-American Observatory Cerro Tololo, Chile, is engaged in space exploration between the Small (MMO) and the Large (BMO) Magellanic Clouds.

The analysis of the spectroscopic data collected with the DECam camera led to the identification of a super-dim milky way satellite galaxy called South Hydra 1. The galaxy is 90,000 light years away from the Sun and about 78,000 light years away from the BMO. The absolute stellar magnitude of the galaxy is -4.7, and the circularized radius at half luminosity is 163 light years.

These signs indicate that, most likely, the detected source is a dwarf galaxy, but so far scientists can not exclude also the version of a large star cluster.

A study published on the scientific Preprint server