What a Wonderful Mess

Image credit: NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Go home dwarf, you’re drunk. No, I’m not talking about Tyrion Lannister though it would fit the description; I’m talking about this busy dwarf galaxy cataloged as UGC 8201, 15 million light years away in the constellation Draco (the Dragon). As a member of the M81 group of galaxies it’s not actually within the Milky Way’s local group of galaxies but it is one of its closest neighbors.

The mystery within this galaxy is that it appears to have undergone a recent flurry of star formation which, of course requires large amounts of material as well as energy to set the process into motion. What we see throughout this galaxy is the absence of both of those things, so the cause of the star formation, for now, remains a mystery to solve. Many in the sciences love the challenge of the unknown, the mystery of the unknown is one of discovery’s single greatest drivers right along with, as Richard Feynman put it, “The pleasure of finding things out.”

Name: UGC 8201 or DDO 165.

What is it?: Dwarf galaxy.

How far away is it?: 15 million light years.

How big is it?: Apparent dimensions are 3.4 x 2 degrees on the night sky.

Apparent magnitude: a very dim 12.5.

Where is it (general)?: Constellation Draco (the Dragon) and a member of the M81 group of galaxies.

Where is it (exact RA/Dec J2000)?: RA 13h 06m 24.85s / DEC +67d 42’ 25”.

ESA Space Telescope “Picture Of The Week” page for this image: https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1510a/

NASA page for this image: https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/hubble-explores-the-mysteries-of-ugc-8201

SIMBAD data for this object: http://simbad.u-strasbg.fr/simbad/sim-id?Ident=UGC+8201

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