Advanced Simulations Predict Numerous Undiscovered Ultra-Diffuse Galaxies
Groundbreaking cosmological simulations pave the way for potential discoveries of elusive ultra-diffuse galaxies within our cosmic neighborhood, offering insights into the universe’s structure and evolution.
Unveiling the Mysterious Ultra-Diffuse Galaxies
An international team of researchers has employed the most precise and detailed cosmological simulations to date, revealing a thrilling prediction: a significant number of undiscovered faint galaxies lie within our cosmic vicinity. The study examines ultra-diffuse galaxies, which are faint, massive bodies of up to one billion Suns, but only one-thousandth the mass of the Milky Way. Their expansive size, comparable to our galaxy, makes them incredibly faint and challenging to detect, leaving much to be learned about these celestial enigmas.
The Local Group as a Treasure Trove for Discovery
Scientists have pinpointed the Local Group, a small cluster comprising around 60 known galaxies, including our Milky Way and Andromeda, as the prime location for uncovering more ultra-diffuse galaxies. Although only two such galaxies have been discovered in the Local Group, understanding the total number is vital for grasping the intricacies of the cosmos.
HESTIA Simulations Uncover Hidden Galactic Residents
To determine how many ultra-diffuse galaxies might be hiding in our cosmic backyard, the international team utilized state-of-the-art simulations of our celestial neighborhood. The HESTIA simulations, named after the ancient Greek goddess of the home, are the most accurate and comprehensive representations of the Milky Way and its surrounding area currently available. These simulations predict the existence of up to 12 ultra-diffuse galaxies within the Local Group, awaiting discovery. Based on an analysis of the properties of ultra-diffuse galaxies in the HESTIA simulations, researchers believe that several of these elusive galaxies could be observed using existing data from surveys such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
Unraveling the Secrets of Galaxy Formation and Evolution
The detection of these previously unknown galaxies could significantly impact our understanding of galaxy formation and evolution. Present models propose that as many as half of the low-mass galaxies in the universe could be extended and diffuse, with the majority remaining unobservable due to current technological limitations. As the total number of galaxies in the universe is a robust prediction of various cosmological models, the population size of ultra-diffuse galaxies in the Local Group could help confirm or refute some of these models.
The study, titled “The undiscovered ultra-diffuse galaxies of the Local Group,” was published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters on March 30th.