Five discovered galaxies are named in honor of amateur astronomer first time

Amateur astronomer Giuseppe Donatiello already has 11 celestial discoveries on his account, nine of which are named in his honor.

The Sculptor Galaxy NGC 253, around which amateur astronomer Giuseppe Donatiello discovered eight dwarf galaxies that are named after him. Photo: DECam/CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA, G. Donatiello

“To my knowledge, I am the first and only amateur astronomer to have galaxies named after them. It all started with the first discovery in 2016 when, in my astrophotographs, I found what we would call Donatiello I. Although this was an unusual practice, the new galaxy received my name, and it was a great joy,” Donatiello tells

Donatello notes that his work is more about the excitement of new discoveries than being in astronomy textbooks. Among the new discoveries are five dwarf galaxies: Donatiello V, Donatiello VI, Donatiello VII, Donatiello VIII and Donatiello IX. According to Space, they are difficult to detect because of their very small size and weak luminosity. They are located at an average distance of 11.5 million light-years from Earth.

Dwarf galaxies from Donatiello I to Donatiello IX as seen with the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument. Image: DECam/CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA, G. Donatiello

“In general, dwarf galaxies are objects that exhibit very low luminosity. Suffice it to say that many satellites of the Milky Way are difficult to detect because they are well-camouflaged in the star fields. This becomes increasingly difficult for external galaxies. Already, at just a few megaparsecs, the faintest dwarf galaxies have disappeared into the background of the sky,” explains the amateur astronomer.

These discoveries are important to the scientific community because they help astronomers study the oldest stars in our universe, investigate the nature and distribution of dark matter, and influence current models of cosmology. Discovered galaxies provide more information about the evolution of the universe and its possible future changes.

Five newly discovered dwarf galaxies from Donatiello V to Donatiello IX . Image credit: Martínez-Delgado

“Each new discovery is important,” Donatiello summarizes.

We previously reported on how amateur astronomers turned a barn into a planetarium to save a 40-year-old observatory.