The core of Hickson's Compact Group 98 consists of the two "smudges" at the centre of the image. Each is a galaxy much like our own Milky Way. The core of Hickson's Compact Group 98 consists of the two "smudges" at the centre of the image. Each is a galaxy much like our own Milky Way. The core of Hickson's Compact Group 98 consists of the two "smudges" at the centre of the image. Each is a galaxy much like our own Milky Way. (Photo: N. Brosch / Tel Aviv University)

Astronomers discover new tadpole-shaped galaxy

And get this: it's 10 times larger than the Milky Way.

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a ... tadpole-shaped galaxy?!?

Outer space just got a little more crowded. A team of astronomers from the U.S., Israel and Russia have discovered a galaxy that looks like a giant tadpole about 300 million light years away from Earth. It's got a round head and a long, straight tail. The galaxy is one million light-years long from end to end, which makes it 10 times larger than the Milky Way.

"We have found a giant, exceptional relic of a disrupted galaxy," says Dr. Noah Brosch of Tel Aviv University's School of Physics and Astronomy, who led the research for the study. Added his co-author, Professor R. Michael Rich of UCLA: "What makes this object extraordinary is that the tail alone is almost 500,000 light-years long."

According to the study, the giant "tadpole" was produced by the disruption of a small, previously invisible dwarf galaxy containing mostly stars. When the gravitational force of two visible galaxies pulled on stars in this vulnerable galaxy, the stars closer to the pair formed the "head" of the tadpole. Stars lingering in the victim galaxy formed the "tail."

The discovery is just the latest news coming out of space research being done by Israelis. Much of it stems from the laboratory of Dr. Avi Loeb, the chair of Harvard's Astronomy Department and an alum of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The astrophysicist has been making headlines as of late, discussing his mission of finding an alien planet for humans to move to. "This will be the biggest leap forward since the Apollo mission. I like challenges," he told us. "It's not fun otherwise."


Dr. Loeb published a new scientific research paper that explores the different types of elements that one might find on an alien planet. Just last month, he published another study explaining how aliens can travel throughout the galaxy on the backs of everything from meteoroids to space dust. At this speed, it's no wonder that he's written more than 500 scientific papers in his career.

An Israeli group called SpaceIL recently announced it will be hitching a ride on one of Elon Musk's SpaceX rockets in early 2019. If all goes as planned, this puts Israel on track to become the fourth country to ever land on the moon behind the United States, Russia and China. Canadian philanthropist Sylvan Adams just joined the organization with a $5 million donation.

Israel has also entered into a partnership with NASA to help on an upcoming mission to Mars. "Our two countries have had a long history of cooperation in space exploration, scientific discovery and research, and we look forward to the opportunities this new agreement provides us to build upon this partnership," NASA administrator Charles Bolden said. "You are known for your innovation and technology and this agreement gives us the opportunity to cooperate with Israel on the journey to Mars as we open up new opportunities for all of our children."

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Astronomers discover new tadpole-shaped galaxy
And get this: it's 10 times larger than the Milky Way.