Image Credit: Jean Turner

This galaxy may not look like much, and by galactic standards, it totally isn’t—that’s not to say it doesn’t have interesting qualities. Specifically, as strange as it probably sounds, it’s not notable for what we can see, but what we can not.

You see, the galaxy—called NGC 5253—is a dwarf galaxy found within the constellation of Centaurus. Buried within its core is a huge gaseous formation, known as a supernebula. In the center lies a hot cluster of stars that, when combined, shine one billion times brighter than the Sun, only that light is hidden almost entirely by the gaseous filaments surrounding the cluster.

Presently, around 1,000,000 stars are being forged within these dusty, gaseous filaments—an impressive number given the small galaxy’s size. Even more impressive is the fact that the stars are so young—around 3 million years old—the gas and dust envelope—all 15,000 solar masses of it—hasn’t yet dispersed.

Additionally, NGC 5253 is remarkable in another manner: the sheer concentration of dark matter it has. Researchers estimate that it has approximately 9 times more dark matter than ordinary matter—much more than the Milky Way.


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