In times of social distancing, it seems that this small galaxy is setting an example, finding itself alone in the middle of a cosmic void.
KK 246, also known as ESO 461-036, is an irregular dwarf galaxy and, although there seems to be nothing unusual about it, the truth is that it is being launched at high speeds to a region of space called Local Void.
It is not very common to see isolated galaxies like this. Incidentally, KK 246 / ESO 461-36 is the only galaxy in the entire Local Void.
Most galaxies are surrounded by a cluster of satellite galaxies and are themselves embedded in larger clusters. These large concentrations of galaxies are part of structures on an even larger scale in the Universe – galactic filaments that contain millions of galaxies.
Among these huge concentrations of galaxies are sparsely populated regions, known as cosmic voids, such as the Local Void and the Boötes Void. Adjacent to the Local Group, the Local Void is at least 150 million light-years across.
The larger and emptier the region is, the weaker its gravity, which would cause anything inside it to escape towards regions with mass.
In 2019 a scientific study showed that the KK 246 is moving very quickly, at 350 kilometers per second. Some speculate that dark energy is responsible for this, pulling the small galaxy away at high speeds.