Snow globe in space: Hubble shows a “holiday” galaxy

In honor of the winter holidays, the Hubble mission group posted a new image. It shows the galaxy UGC 8091, which somewhat resembles a snow globe.

Irregular galaxy UGC 8091. Source: ESA/Hubble, NASA Y. Choi (NOIRLab), K. Gilbert (Space Telescope Science Institute), J. Dalcanton (Flatiron Institute and University of Washington)

The galaxy UGC 8091, also known as GR 8, is located about seven million light-years from Earth in the constellation Virgo. It is classified as an irregular galaxy. And the Hubble photo clearly demonstrates why. Unlike other galaxies, which have an ordered structure, UGC 8091 looks more like a tangle of brightly glowing light bulbs.

Astronomers estimate that UGC 8091 contains about a billion stars. This figure seems high until we compare it with other galaxies. For example, the stellar population of our Milky Way consists of more than 100 billion luminaries. Moreover, astronomers know galaxies with over a trillion stars. 

According to the researchers, some irregular galaxies became “confused” as a result of violent internal activity, while others were formed as a result of interaction with their neighbors. Dwarf galaxies often orbit larger galaxies, and their low mass makes them vulnerable to disturbance and absorption. As a result, swirling dwarf irregular galaxies such as UGC 8091 are formed.

It is believed that this type of galaxy has similar characteristics to the huge old and distant galaxies that are located on the outskirts of the observable Universe. It is hoped that studying the composition of dwarf galaxies and their stars, especially those with low metallicity, will help uncover the evolutionary links between these ancient galaxies and more modern galaxies such as our own.

According to

Follow us on Twitter to get the most interesting space news in time