One of the closest galaxies to the Milky Way is hiding a second galaxy behind it, new research reveals

One of the closest galaxies to the Milky Way is hiding a second galaxy behind it, new research reveals

The Small Magellanic Cloud is a nearby galaxy that is very familiar to astronomers — or so they thought. New research suggests that the satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, located around 199,000 light-years from Earth, seems to have been hiding a secret: It’s actually two galaxies, one behind the other.

To make the discovery, a team led by Claire Murray, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Maryland, tracked the movement of gas clouds and young stars being born within them around the Small Magellanic Cloud. They found that the small galaxy, which is around 18,900 light-years wide (or less than a fifth of the width of the Milky Way), contains two distinct stellar nurseries thousands of light-years apart.

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