This beautiful 13’ x 13’ image (click for the full view!) holds more than meets the eye. Look closely at the small concentration of blue stars just to the left of center. This is Eridanus II, one of nine new ultra-faint galaxies discovered just last year around the Milky Way. Detected as part of the Dark Energy Survey (DES) and presented in a study led by Sergey E. Koposov (Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge), these new galaxies add to a growing list of very dim satellites that orbit within the Milky Way’s potential. Since their discovery, these DES satellites have been used to answer a number of astronomical questions. In particular, the large dark-matter fraction of these ultra-faint galaxies makes them excellent laboratories for testing models of dark matter in the universe. Check back with us on Wednesday to learn more about what Eridanus II has revealed about dark matter! And for more information on the nine DES-discovered ultra-faint satellites, check out the paper below.
Sergey E. Koposov et al 2015 ApJ 805 130. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/805/2/130