ESO says Milky Way’s next-door neighbor IC 1613 Galaxy is Dust-free

ESO says Milky Way’s next-door neighbor IC 1613 Galaxy is Dust-free

A new discovery related to a dwarf galaxy has made astronomers change their notion about galaxies. A combination of planets, stars, gas and dust completes a galaxy, but Milky Way’s next-door neighbor dwarf galaxy is lacking the latter. Astronomers at European Southern Observatory (ESO) have observed that the mysterious galaxy, IC 1613, is dust-free.

Like its neighboring galaxies, the dwarf galaxy in the constellation of Cetus contains planets and stars, but unlike other neighbors, it is dust-free. The ESO astronomers said the lack of dust in IC 1613 allows them observe its stars and gas in detail. Conditions at the galaxy make it easy for the astronomers to measure its distance from us.

Here on earth, light objects such as candle and bulbs appear dimmer when they are far from us. This simple logic of brightening can be used by astronomers to measure far away things are in the universe, ESO said in a press release,

Astronomers say there are two types of stars in IC 1613: Cepheid variables and RR Lyrae variables. These stars could be behind the galaxy’s intrinsic brightness. The stars allow astronomers on earth to calculate intrinsic brightness of the galaxy by measuring timing of stars’ brightening.

“Stars of known intrinsic brightness can act like standard candles, as astronomers say, much like how a candle with a specific brightness would act as a good gauge of distance intervals based on the observed brightness of its flame’s flicker”, as per ESO.

The astronomers measured pulsing stars in the galaxy and found that IC 1613 is about 2.3 million light-years away from us, ESO explained. IC 1613 was first discovered in 1906 by German astronomer Max Wolf. The dwarf galaxy was considered as a member of the Local Group, a collection of more than 50 galaxies, including the Milky Way.