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Nearby galaxy discovered
Posted: Sun, Nov 9, 2003, 11:45 PM ET (0445 GMT)
Canis Major dwarf galaxy being absorbed into Milky Way (CNRS) Astronomers have discovered the closest known galaxy to the Milky Way, a tiny galaxy in the process of colliding with our own galaxy. The Canis Major dwarf galaxy, named after the constellation the galaxy appears in as seen from Earth, is only 25,000 light-years from the solar system and 42,000 light-years from the center of the Milky Way. The galaxy was seen in infrared light as part of the Two-Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS); the galaxy had evaded earlier detection despite its proximity because of intervening dust clouds that block visible, but not infrared, light. The galaxy has about one billion stars and is in the process of being absorbed by the much larger Milky Way. Astronomers theorize that such collisions may allow the Milky Way to continue to grow.
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