From the nearest to the milky Way galaxy “broke” the giant wing.
Small Magellanic Cloud – a dwarf galaxy companion of the milky Way. It is located at a distance of about 60 kiloparsec in the constellation of the Toucan. According to estimates of researchers, the Small Magellanic Cloud contains half a billion stars. It and the neighboring Large Magellanic Cloud surrounds the overall shell of neutral hydrogen. All of this together – the Magellanic system.
Each year before science there are all new puzzles astronomical pair. But now, it seems, one of them was less. The researchers found evidence that from the Small Magellanic Cloud broke off a giant piece: it is about the region in South-Eastern part of the galaxy, which goes toward the Large Magellanic Cloud at a speed of 64 kilometers per second.
According to the author research Professor of astronomy, University of Michigan Sally Her, the results are extremely important. Now experts are firmly convinced that “wing” is a separate structure, moving away from the rest of the Small Magellanic Cloud. The “bailout” of the stars studied using data collected by the space telescope GAIA. He works in the optical range, calculating the exact distance and speed of billions of stars in our Galaxy and its “neighbors.”
These data are necessary for understanding the evolution of nearby dwarf galaxies. Their findings, researchers believe unambiguous evidence that the Small Magellanic and Large Magellanic Clouds are not just touched, but faced, which led to the partial destruction of a smaller galaxy. It is also called the first clear evidence of such a cataclysm.
The results allow to predict the processes that expect the milky Way. Recall that scientists predict its collision with Andromeda in the distant future.
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