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A dwarf satellite galaxy in Sagittarius


WE have detected a large, extended group of comoving stars in the direction of the Galactic Centre, which we interpret as belonging to a dwarf galaxy that is closer to our own Galaxy than any other yet known. Located in the constellation of Sagittarius, and on the far side of the Galactic Centre, it has not previously been seen because of the large number of foreground stars (in the Milky Way) in that direction. Following convention, we propose to call it the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy. Its properties are similar to those of the eight other dwarf spheroidal companions to the Milky Way, and it is comparable in size and luminosity to the largest of them— the Fornax system. The Sagittarius dwarf is elongated towards the plane of the Milky Way, suggesting that it is undergoing some tidal disruption before being absorbed by the Milky Way.

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Ibata, R., Gilmore, G. & Irwin, M. A dwarf satellite galaxy in Sagittarius. Nature 370, 194–196 (1994).

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