Hubble photographs a hidden galaxy

At first glance, the presented image of the Hubble Space Telescope mainly demonstrates emptiness: a section of the sky on which there are only a few distant luminaries and even more distant background galaxies. But if you look closely, you can see a whole starry scattering in the center of the image. It is part of the Donatiello II galaxy.

Dwarf galaxy Donatiello II (Hubble photo). Source: ESA/Hubble & NASA, B. Mutlu-Pakdil

Donatiello II is one of three recently discovered dwarf galaxies. They are so dim that the computer algorithms used to process the images failed to recognize their nature. Fortunately, astronomers always have a proven method at their disposal in the form of manual analysis of images. It allowed them to discover hidden galaxies.

Initially, images of the region of the sky in which dwarf galaxies were located were taken by the Dark Energy Camera during the DES celestial Survey. In the process of studying the publicly available images, amateur astronomer Giuseppe Donatello drew attention to the fact that the researchers missed several galaxies. All of them are moons of the larger galaxy NGC 253 also known as the Sculptor Galaxy. To celebrate Donatello’s contribution, the scientists decided to name the objects they discovered in his honor.

Later, this area of the sky was photographed using the Hubble telescope. It managed to capture galaxies, confirming their existence and that they are moons of NGC 253.

You can also read about how Hubble was able to measure the mass of a single white dwarf.

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