Faces in a Faint Cloud

Credit: ESA/NASA Hubble


Eyes peer out of this faint star cloud known as the Antlia Dwarf Galaxy in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Zoom into the sparsely populated star cloud. What faces or stories do you see? Leave a note below.

Discovered recently in 1997, the Antlia Dwarf Galaxy is a very faint collection of stars just four million light-years from Earth. Although it is somewhat close, it is unclear whether it is part of the Local Group, a group of galaxies containing the Milky Way Galaxy, Magellanic Clouds and the Andromeda Galaxy. The Antlia Dwarf Galaxy may be just wandering near the group interacting slightly with nearby galaxies. Astronomers study galaxies like this one because it gives them a clear picture of different stages of galaxy formation.

Zoom into the loose galaxy. New, bluer stars are found toward the center of the image. Older red stars and faint, fuzzy globular clusters are found to the outside. In the background, gaze at dozens of faraway galaxies of different shapes. Perhaps one of those distant galaxies has a faint dwarf galaxy nearby that we cannot see.

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The ancient peoples saw pictures in the sky. From those patterns in the heavens, ancient storytellers created legends about heroes, maidens, dragons, bears, centaurs, dogs and mythical creatures...
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