You’re probably used to the stunning images of our bright, densely-packed galaxy, the Milky Way.
But another type of galaxy, called an ultradiffuse galaxy (UDG) is the antithesis of the populated cluster we call home.
In 2016, researchers discovered a UDG called Dragonfly 44 that was 99 percent dark matter.
Now, we're getting closer to unlocking the secrets of these ghostly galaxies — starting with how they formed.
Writing on September 6 in the journal Nature Astronomy, an international team of researchers used simulated UDGs to shed light on how they come to exist.
UDGs are sometimes called “failed Milky Ways” — implying they were on track to form enough stars to look like our own galaxy.
Some no longer produce stars, known as quenched UDGs.
The study authors say that some UDGs likely orbited larger systems at one point, but spent the bulk of their time in isolation.
“This means a lot of dwarf galaxies lurking in the dark may have remained undetected to our telescopes.”