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The Fornax dwarf spheroidal galaxy

Date created: 1983-06-01

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The Milky Way and M31 are huge spiral galaxies and the major members of a small cluster of 50 or so nearby galaxies known pragmatically as the Local Group. Most of these galaxies are quite insignificant and many were discovered photographically. The Fornax dwarf was found by Harlow Shapley in 1938 and is now known to be about 500,000 light years distant, which is is very close for a galaxy and why the individual stars are so well resolved. Much to everyone's surprise the galaxy was seen to have several globular star clusters, which are visible here. Such clusters are usually seen in association with much larger galaxies such as the Milky Way.

Image derived from an AAT plate taken in blue light.

Credit: David Malin

© Australian Astronomical Observatory