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The Milky Way’s clean and tidy galactic neighbour

27 January 2016 Astronomy Now

Many galaxies are chock-full of dust, while others have occasional dark streaks of opaque cosmic soot swirling in amongst their gas and stars. However, the irregular dwarf galaxy IC 1613 contains very little cosmic dust, allowing astronomers to explore its contents with great clarity. This is not just a matter of appearances; the galaxy’s cleanliness is vital to our understanding of the universe around us.

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Dwarf galaxy WLM becomes star-forming powerhouse

10 September 2015 Astronomy Now

Nearby dwarf galaxy Wolf—Lundmark—Melotte (WLM) poses an intriguing mystery: How is it able to form brilliant star clusters without the dusty, gas-rich environments found in larger galaxies? The answer, astronomers believe, lies in densely packed and previously unrecognised nuggets of star-forming material sprinkled throughout the galaxy.

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Faint galaxies found hiding in the Virgo Cluster

27 May 2015 Astronomy Now

A recent survey using the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope has discovered hundreds of new galaxies in the Virgo Cluster, the nearest large cluster of galaxies. Most are extremely faint dwarf galaxies, objects hundreds of thousands of times less massive than our Milky Way, and amongst the faintest galaxies known in the universe.

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The Milky Way’s new neighbour

22 December 2014 Astronomy Now

The Local Group of galaxies has just grown in number with the Hubble Space Telescope discovery of KKs 3 — a dwarf spheroidal some 7 million light-years away in the far southern constellation of Hydrus.