Dwarf Galaxies: More Star Power


Dwarf galaxies are small, weakly glowing cousins of typical galaxies. Astronomers long thought that little star formation took place in dwarf galaxies, but a new analysis of images from the Hubble Space Telescope turns this assumption around.

NGC 4163 Dwarf Starburst Galaxy

The dwarf, starburst galaxy NGC 4163.

Credit: NASAESA, and K. McQuinn (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis)

Scientists have revealed that star formation in dwarf galaxies occurs on a global scale, galacticly, and over a longer time scale. This finding has implications on the evolution of galaxies because it is believed that large galaxies form from the merger of smaller galaxies, so understanding these smaller, dwarf galaxies is essential toward our understanding of the evolution of the universe.