The Sculptor Dwarf Galaxy Gets a Close-Up

Olivia Harrison

The Sculptor Dwarf Galaxy is ready for its close-up, thanks to astronomers at the European Southern Observatory (ESO). This galaxy is the Milky Way’s most elusive neighbor, located more than 280,000 light-years from Earth in the Sculptor constellation.

The dwarf galaxy can easily be mistaken for a simple cloud of faint stars, but recently, the ESO released a new moving image of Sculptor taken by the 2.2-meter telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile, which revealed its ghostly stars in all their glory.

The Sculptor Dwarf Galaxy was discovered by American astronomer Harlow Shapley in 1937. Smaller, fainter, and older than the Milky Way, Sculptor is special because it is home to ancient stars that have a chemical make-up remarkably similar to the oldest stars in our galaxy. Studying its stars could help astronomers learn more about the earliest periods of star formation. 

[h/t: Huffington Post]