Milky Way Now Has a Twin (or Two): Astronomers Find First Group of Galaxies Just Like Ours

This image shows one of the two ‘exact matches’ to the Milky Way system found in the survey. The larger galaxy, denoted GAMA202627, which is similar to the Milky Way clearly has two large companions off to the bottom left of the image. In this image bluer colours indicate hotter, younger, stars like many of those that are found in our galaxy. (Credit: Dr. Aaron Robotham, ICRAR/St Andrews using GAMA data)

Research presented Aug. 23, 2012 at the International Astronomical Union General Assembly in Beijing has found the first group of galaxies that is just like ours, a rare sight in the local Universe.

The Milky Way is a fairly typical galaxy on its own, but when paired with its close neighbours -- the Magellanic Clouds -- it is very rare, and could have been one of a kind, until a survey of our local Universe found another two examples just like us.
Astronomer Dr Aaron Robotham, jointly from the University of Western Australia node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) and the University of St Andrews in Scotland, searched for groups of galaxies similar to ours in the most detailed map of the local Universe yet, the Galaxy and Mass Assembly survey (GAMA).


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