Astronomers Find Densest Galaxy in Nearby Universe Using Hubble and Chandra

Posted on September 25, 2013

M60-UCD1


A new galaxy discovered by Chandra and Hubble could be the densest galaxy in the nearby Universe. The galaxy, known as M60-UCD1, is located near a massive elliptical galaxy NGC 4649, which is about 54 million light years from Earth. NGC 4649 is also known as MG60.

The astronomers say the newly discovered galaxy weighs more than 200 million suns, over half of which is concentrated within a radius of just 80 light years. They also say the density of stars in the region is 15,000 times greater than found in Earth's neighborhood in the Milky Way.

The M60-UCD1 galaxy is described as an "ultra-compact dwarf galaxy." The astronomers say that Chandra data revealed a bright X-ray source at the galaxy's center, which could indicate the presence of a giant black hole that weighs 10 million times the mass of the Sun.

You can find more images here on hubblesite.org. A press release from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory can be found here.

Image: X-ray: NASA/CXC/J. Strader et al.; Optical: NASA/HST