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Small but Significant
RA 15h 28m 0.49s Dec 64° 45' 47.07"
44 million light years
2.2 by 1.0 arcmin
2.68 x 1.40 arcminutes
North is 78.2° right of vertical
ESA/Hubble & NASA
August 7, 2017
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ABOUT THIS IMAGE:
The subject of this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image is a dwarf galaxy named NGC 5949. Thanks to its proximity to Earth - it sits at a distance of around 44 million light-years from us, placing it within the Milky Way's cosmic neighborhood - NGC 5949 is a perfect target for astronomers to study dwarf galaxies.
With a mass of about a hundredth that of the Milky Way, NGC 5949 is a relatively bulky example of a dwarf galaxy. Its classification as a dwarf is due to its relatively small number of constituent stars, but the galaxy's loosely-bound spiral arms also place it in the category of barred spirals. This structure is just visible in this image, which shows the galaxy as a bright yet ill-defined pinwheel. Despite its small proportions, NGC 5949's proximity has meant that its light can be picked up by fairly small telescopes, something that facilitated its discovery by the astronomer William Herschel on Nov 28, 1801.
have run into several cosmological quandaries when it comes to dwarf galaxies
like NGC 5949. For example, the distribution of dark matter within dwarfs
is quite puzzling (the "cuspy halo" problem), and our simulations
of the Universe predict that there should be many more dwarf galaxies
than we see around us (the "missing satellites" problem).