TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) — A truly out-of-this-world find. Astronomers from the University of Arizona have helped identify five examples of a classy new star system.
But what does that mean? According to Dr. Mike Jones, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory, he said it was “not quite a galaxy” and only existed in isolation.
Jones and other researchers on the team refer to star systems as “blue spots.” The small blobs are about the size of tiny dwarf galaxies and are located in the galaxy cluster relatively close to Virgo.
All five systems are separated from any potential parent galaxy by more than 300,000 light years in some cases, making it difficult to identify their origins.
“They’re composed exclusively of blue stars, young blue stars,” Jones said.
He went on to say that the discovery actually happened by accident.
“We had this map of gas clouds that we thought were close to our own galaxy. And teacher [David] Sand, who I worked with at the U of A, started looking for stars that might be born in these gas clouds. And, when he found the first object, he realized that it was nowhere near the Milky Way.
Jones and his team got their observations from the Hubble Space Telescope, the Very Large Array Telescope in New Mexico, and the Very Large Telescope in Chile. With these findings, Jones attended the 240th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Pasadena, California to help advance the study of space.
According to Jones’ research, he believes that one day these systems will eventually separate into individual clusters of stars and spread out into the larger cluster of galaxies. He added that this discovery was just a small piece of a very large puzzle, which continues to be put together to help better understand space and beyond.
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