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The galaxy about to collide with us once swallowed another galaxy

Wednesday, October 20, 2021 15:00 PM (GMT+7)

The Large Magellanic Cloud – one of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies, the galaxy containing the Earth – has just been shown to be a formidable “cannibal”.

The “victim” was also once a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, but was smaller so it lost the clash, the study just published in Nature Astronomy revealed.

A team of astronomers from the University of Bologna (Italy), led by Dr Alessio Mucciarelli, tracked down clues from stars whose orbits differ from most stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud and found something more clear: NGC 2005.

Large Magellanic Cloud – Photo: ESO

NGC 2005 is a globular cluster of hundreds of thousands to millions of stars, tightly bound together by gravity, forming a dense sphere that is gradually denser towards the center. The stars in clusters are often the same age and very old, so globular clusters are considered a “fossil” form of the universe.

Comparing NCG 2005 with other globular clusters of the 60 globular clusters of the Large Magellanic Cloud, the scientists found that its graphic richness is very different from other clusters, especially in terms of properties. metal of the stars. The star’s metallicity must be identical to the molecular cloud that produced it, which acts as a “star nursery” which is identical to the environment of the “home” galaxy.

NGC 2005 has a lower metal abundance than any other globular cluster in the Large Magellanic Cloud, suggesting it must have had a different history. Simulations show that the “mother” of NGC 2004 is a tiny galaxy similar to other super faint satellites circling the Milky Way in addition to the three largest satellite galaxies. swallowed the parent galaxy of NCG 2005 so it was possible to own it.

In fact, galaxy mergers are very common in the history of the universe. The galaxy containing the Earth Milky Way, a galaxy of “monsters” was once thought to have swallowed 16 other galaxies, so it reached its great size today.

Some astronomers predict that the Large Magellanic Cloud and the Milky Way will collide in the next 1 to 4 billion years, with the most likely part being the Milky Way because the Large Magellanic Cloud is just a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. Way, far behind in size and robustness.


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