After a careful analysis of their brightness and temperatures, the astronomers concluded that these stars did not belong to the cluster which is part of the Milky Way, but rather they are more distant.
The team called the elongated and small galaxy Bedin 1, which measures nearly 3,000 light years, only a fraction of the size of our galaxy.
Astronomers have discovered a galaxy thought to be around 13 billion years old - almost as old as the universe itself. In a celestial game of "Where's Waldo?", Hubble's sharp vision uncovered a never-before-seen dwarf galaxy located far behind the cluster's crowded stellar population. In the Local Group of Galaxies, scientists have spotted 36 dwarf spheroidal galaxies, and 22 of them are satellite galaxies of our Milky Way.
The ancient galaxy is one of the oldest and most isolated galaxies known to man, and was named after Luigi Bedin, a researcher at Italy's National Institute for Astrophysics who discovered it.
The researchers that discovered Bedin-1 were really lucky to have stumbled on it by accident, because it's so small and faint it would probably never have been discovered on objective with current instruments.
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Reference: These results will be published online January 31, 2019, in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters [https://academic.oup.com/mnrasl]. But Bedin 1 is special in several ways, according to the discovery team.
This "loner galaxy" is about 30 million light years away, or 2,300 times farther away than the clusters in the foreground of the image. However, its remote location and the fact that it's not near any other galaxies has led researchers to label it "a living fossil from the early Universe".
Last month, NASA and the ESA released the most detailed image of our close neighbor, the Triangulum Galaxy, located a mere 3 million light years from Earth. Future telescopes with a large field of view, such as the WFIRST telescope, will have cameras covering a much larger area of the sky and may find many more of these galactic neighbours.
This isn't the space telescope's first headline of the year, though.