Hubble spots a lonely galactic island

When it comes to intergalactic real estate, our solar system boasts quite a enviable location as it is part of a big spiral galaxy known as the Milky Way which is kept company by numerous dwarf galaxies.

However, many galaxies are comparatively isolated, without close neighbors. One such example is the small galaxy dubbed DDO 190, which is shown below in a new image snapped by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. 

DDO 190 – named after the David Dunlap Observatory – is classified as a dwarf irregular galaxy as it is relatively small and lacks clear structure.

Older, reddish stars primarily populate DDO 190’s outskirts, while some younger, bluish stars gleam in DDO 190’s more crowded interior. 

Some pockets of ionized gas heated up by stars appear here and there, with the most noticeable one shining towards the bottom of DDO 190 in the picture above. Meanwhile, numerous distant galaxies with evident spiral, elliptical and less-defined shapes glow in the background.

First recorded by Sidney van der Bergh in 1959, DDO 190 is located approximately 9 million light-years away from our solar system. It is categorized as part of the loosely associated Messier 94 group of galaxies, not far from the Local Group of galaxies that includes the Milky Way. 

Although technically within the Messier 94 group, DDO 190 stands on its own, as the galaxy’s nearest dwarf galaxy neighbor, DDO 187, is thought to be no closer than three million light-years away. 

In contrast, many of the Milky Way’s companion galaxies, such as the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, reside within a fifth or so of that distance, and even the giant spiral of the Andromeda Galaxy is closer to the Milky Way than DDO 190 is to its nearest neighbor.