Home > Astronomy, Cosmology, Galaxies, General Astronomy > UCI Scientists Size Up Universe’s Most Lightweight Dwarf Galaxy

UCI Scientists Size Up Universe’s Most Lightweight Dwarf Galaxy


The least massive galaxy in the known universe has been measured by UC Irvine scientists, clocking in at just 1,000 or so stars with a bit of dark matter holding them together.

The findings, made with the world’s most powerful telescopes at the W. M. Keck Observatory and published today in The Astrophysical Journal, offer tantalizing clues about how iron, carbon and other elements key to human life originally formed. But the size and weight of Segue 2, as the star body is called, are its most extraordinary aspects.

“Finding a galaxy as tiny as Segue 2 is like discovering an elephant smaller than a mouse,” said UC Irvine cosmologist James Bullock, co-author of the paper. Astronomers have been searching for years for this type of dwarf galaxy, long predicted to be swarming around the Milky Way. Their inability to find any, he said, “has been a major puzzle, suggesting that perhaps our theoretical understanding of structure formation in the universe was flawed in a serious way.”

Segue 2’s presence as a satellite of our home galaxy could be “a tip-of-the-iceberg observation, with perhaps thousands more very low-mass systems orbiting just beyond our ability to detect them,” he added.

Full Story: http://news.uci.edu/press-releases/uci-scientists-size-up-universes-most-lightweight-dwarf-galaxy/
Also: http://keckobservatory.org/news/uci_scientists_size_up_universes_most_lightweight_dwarf_galaxy_with_keck_ob

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