Glossary term: Dwarf Galaxy


A dwarf galaxy is a small galaxy that is unusually faint either because of its very small size, its very low surface brightness, or both. It contains several billion stars and is smaller than the Milky Way in which our Solar System is located. For comparison, our galaxy contains roughly 200 to 400 billion stars. There are many differnt types of dwarf galaxy including dwarf elliptical, dwarf spheroidal, dwarf spiral and dwarf irregular. One of the most important examples of dwarf galaxies is the Small Magellanic Cloud, which is a dwarf irregular satellite of our galaxy.

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