New Milky Way map reveals a wave of stars in our galaxy's outer reaches
April 25, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
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A new map reveals the outskirts of the Milky Way galaxy, including a wave of stars disturbed by a small galaxy on a collision course with our own.
A small neighboring galaxy, known as the Large Magellanic Cloud, orbits the Milky Way. The data used to create the map revealed that, like a ship, the Large Magellanic Cloud has cut through the Milky Way's outer halo.
So if the Large Magellanic Cloud can cut through the Milky Way's halo and leave a wave of stars, the same ripple should essentially act as an outline of the dark matter.
Dark matter is essentially pulling on the Large Magellanic Cloud to slow it down, shrinking the dwarf galaxy's orbit around the Milky Way and causing the eventual collision.
"This robbing of a smaller galaxy's energy is not only why the (Large Magellanic Cloud) is merging with the Milky Way, but also why all galaxy mergers happen," said Rohan Naidu, study co-author and a doctoral student in astronomy at Harvard University, in a statement.