(Clearwisdom.net, September 24, 2003) Astronomers from Case Western Reserve University say they have discovered a new galaxy, a collection of stars hovering undetected just outside the huge Andromeda spiral.

Researchers said the newest known resident of the celestial neighborhood, dubbed Andromeda VIII, was unmasked when they realized that some stars thought to be part of the big spiral galaxy were moving at a different velocity.

Andromeda, the nearest big galaxy to Earth's Milky Way is at 2 million light years away. Andromeda VIII is a dim, widely distributed object. It sits directly in front of a bright patch of the prime Andromeda galaxy as seen from Earth, rendering it almost transparent to observers on the ground.

Steve Marin, spokesman for the American Astronomical Society and astronomer at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., said the significance of the discovery is that the galaxy is so close.

"There are only a few dozen galaxies that close to us in space," Marin said.

He said that while thousands of new galaxies are discovered regularly in deep space, only one or two every couple of years are discovered amid what are called local galaxies.