Astronomers with the Carnegie Institution for Science have accidentally discovered a galaxy bigger than the Milky Way. According to research that will be published in Astrophysical Journal, UGC 1382 is classified as a giant low surface brightness disk galaxy,. The astronomers made the discovery while they were looking for stars forming in elliptical galaxies.

Through a series of multi-wavelength surveys on the distant galaxy, astronomers and scientists have discovered that the size of UGC 1382 is probably bigger than Malin 1, a disk galaxy with a diameter seven times that of the Milky Way. Discovered in 1986, Malin 1 is the the first and, until now, the largest low surface brightness galaxy. These are one of the most massive types of isolated spiral galaxies, reported Science Daily.

Research co-author Mark Seibert of Carnegie Institution for Science said, "This rare, 'Frankenstein' galaxy formed and is able to survive because it lies in a quiet little suburban neighbourhood of the universe, where none of the hubbub of the more crowded parts can bother it."

Initially, UGC 1382 was thought to be a small and typical run-of-the-mill elliptical galaxy that does not spin and is more three-dimensional and football-shaped than flat disks. Although the research around UGC 1382 started about five decades ago, it was only in 2009 that astronomers saw a faint sign of a rotating hydrogen disk.

What makes this discovery even more relevant is that UGC 1382 is much closer to earth than Malin 1 and thus has opened up new opportunities for researchers.