NASA’s famous Hubble Space Telescope is making news once again with its latest discovery. A pair of isolated dwarf galaxies that were pulled by the gravity of a nearby cluster of galaxies. Although the dwarf galaxies, Pisces A and Pisces B, were formed billions of year ago they still haven’t fully matured.
Most of those two galaxies’ lifespan was spent in a large area of space stretching for over 150 million light-years which NASA is calling the Local Void. This part of the Universe is mainly empty space which lacks the resources for the galaxies to develop by adding new solar systems.
According to Erik Tollerud , a scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute:
“These galaxies may have spent more of their history in the void. If this is true, the void environment would have slowed their evolution.”
There is some good news regarding the evolution of the dwarf galaxies. They will likely be able to form millions of starts in the future thanks to a large amount of gas floating around them as they get pulled into more populous areas of the Universe.
Scientists were able to spot the galaxies thanks to new images from Hubble. Using radio telescopes, they determined the distance of two dwarf galaxies from the Earth. Pisces B is around 30 million light-years away while Pisces A is a bit closer, at 19 million light-years.
As they steadily approach the gas-rich galaxy cluster, the galaxies will see an enormous growth in the numbers of stars. This process will most likely slow again if the Pisces become satellites of larger galaxies.
“The galaxies could even probably stop forming stars altogether because they will stop getting new gas to make stars. So they will use up their existing gas. But it’s hard to tell right now exactly when that would happen, so it’s a reasonable guess that the star formation will ramp up at least for a while.”
Further analyzing these two dwarf galaxies can help scientists to better understand the formation and evolution of dwarf galaxies in general. Observing how they will adjust to the new populated area will lead to better models of how galaxies grow and evolve over the years.
Image source: HubbleSite