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Tech & Science Bright star pulses reveal when Milky Way devoured another galaxy

13:20  14 january  2020
13:20  14 january  2020 Source:   cnet.com

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The Milky Way , our stunning home galaxy , is like a cosmic Hannibal Lecter, having gobbled up smaller galaxies as it evolved. The international collaboration of over 80 scientists studied a single, very bright star approximately 95 light-years from Earth known as "ν Indi," which can be seen with the

Ten billion years ago, our home galaxy smashed into a smaller cluster of stars —a dwarf galaxy whose remains have recently been spotted among the glittering masses swarming the Milky Way . With a good telescope, that dwarf galaxy ’s bizarre stars are still visible in our night sky

a star in the background: This artist's concept illustrates a view of the Milky Way using infrared images from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. NASA/JPL-Caltech © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. This artist's concept illustrates a view of the Milky Way using infrared images from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Milky Way, our stunning home galaxy, is like a cosmic Hannibal Lecter, having gobbled up smaller galaxies as it evolved. In July last year, scientists dated one such period of galactic cannibalism as having occurred around 10 billion years ago, when the Milky Way ate the dwarf galaxy known as Gaia-Enceladus. However, an exact date for the massive collision has remained hard to pin down.

New research, published in the journal Nature Astronomy on Jan. 13, using data obtained from NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), the European Space Agency's Gaia satellite and a handful of ground-based telescopes, has helped astronomers refine the date of the cannibalism once more. The international collaboration of over 80 scientists studied a single, very bright star approximately 95 light-years from Earth known as "ν Indi," which can be seen with the naked eye.

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  Mystery Solved in Galaxy Far, Far Away? For decades, astronomers have been hunting for a missing neutron star. They may have just found it. For decades, a mystery has consumed the field of astronomy. On February 23, 1987, researchers witnessed the colossal explosion of a star, Sanduleak -69 202, approximately 163,000 light years from Earth in the Large Magellanic Cloud dwarf galaxy. In the wake of supernova 1987A, as it was called, astronomers expected to find a neutron star. Instead, they found nothing but a dense cloud of gas and dust. Due to SN1987A’s mass—about 20 times that of our sun—scientists believed it would form a neutron star.

Early in the Milky Way ’s history, it devoured another , smaller galaxy and made that galaxy ’s stars its own. Now, astronomers have pinpointed the timing of this monstrous meal and identified which stars make up the grisly remains. Carme Gallart at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands in

The Milky Way is the galaxy that contains our Solar System, with the name describing the galaxy 's appearance from Earth: a hazy band of light seen in the night sky formed from stars that cannot be

Using asteroseismology, a way to study how stars pulse and oscillate, the team were able to determine the age of v Indi and revealed that it's had a long life -- it's approximately 11 billion years old, meaning it was likely born in the early years of the Milky Way's life. In addition, v Indi comes from a region of space that appears to have been affected when Gaia-Enceladus was swallowed up by the Milky Way.

That information allowed the researchers to more accurately date this huge collision of galaxies.

"Since the motion of ν Indi was affected by the Gaia-Enceladus collision, the collision must have happened once the star had formed," said Bill Chaplin, astrophysicist at the University of Birmingham and lead author, in a press release. "That is how we have been able to use the asteroseismically-determined age to place new limits on when the Gaia-Enceladus event occurred."

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The Andromeda– Milky Way collision is a galactic collision predicted to occur in about 4.5 billion years between two galaxies in the Local Group—the Milky Way (which contains the Solar System and Earth) and the Andromeda Galaxy .

The Milky Way , our stunning home galaxy , is like a cosmic Hannibal Lecter, having The international collaboration of over 80 scientists studied a single, very bright star Using asteroseismology, a way to study how stars pulse and oscillate, the team were able to determine the age of v Indi and revealed that That information allowed the researchers to more accurately date this huge collision of galaxies .

The team suggest v Indi must have been in place before the Milky Way ate up Gaia-Enceladus and used its age and mass measurements to hypothesize the galactic cannibalism must have begun somewhere between 11.6 and 13.2 billion years ago. However, the researchers note the new age relies on some assumptions being made about Gaia-Enceladus and its collision.

The ancient history of our home galaxy is an area of intense research and astronomers are trying to piece together how the Milky Way came to be in the warped and twisted spiral shape we see today. Piecing together its formation and how galactic mergers may have contributed will help us better understand just how galaxies come to be -- and the implications that might have for life and the universe, as a whole.

Strange Objects Found at The Galactic Centre Are Like Nothing Else in The Milky Way .
There's something really weird in the centre of the Milky Way. The vicinity of a supermassive black hole is a pretty weird place to start with, but astronomers have found six objects orbiting Sagittarius A* that are unlike anything in the galaxy. They are so peculiar that they have been assigned a brand-new class - what astronomers are calling G objects. The original two objects - named G1 and G2 - first caught the eye of astronomers nearly two decades ago, with their orbits and odd natures gradually pieced together over subsequent years.

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