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NASA’s Hubble finds ‘relic galaxy’ near Milky Way

For the study, the team started looking for "arrested development" galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and found 50 candidate massive compact galaxies

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Countless galaxies exist in the universe, each hiding secrets that humankind is yet to unearth. Pixabay
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  • NASA’s scientists unearthed a relic galaxy
  • This relic galaxy have double as stars as the milky way
  • This can be a new landmark research

Using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have unearthed a “relic galaxy” in the Milky Way’s backyard. The galaxy NGC 1277, lies near the centre of the Perseus cluster of over 1,000 galaxies, located 240 million light-years away.

NASA to release two missions focused on moon soon in 2022. Pixabay
NASA’s hubble discovered relic galaxy. Pixabay

The findings, published in the journal Nature, showed that the relic galaxy has twice as many stars as our Milky Way, but physically it is as small as one quarter the size of our galaxy. Essentially, NGC 1277 is in a state of “arrested development”. Further, the scientists found that NGC 1277 does not have the same kinds of globular clusters that other large galaxies have.

While massive galaxies tend to have both metal-poor (appearing blue) and metal-rich (appearing red) globular clusters, NGC 1277 is almost entirely lacking in blue globular clusters. This suggests that NGC 1277 never grew further by gobbling up surrounding galaxies.

Also Read: NASA Reveals Plans For Future Missions To Moon

“I’ve been studying globular clusters in galaxies for a long time, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen this,” said Michael Beasley, of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias at the University of La Laguna, Spain.

NGC 1277 started its life with a bang long ago, ferociously churning out stars 1,000 times faster than seen in our own Milky Way today. But it abruptly went quiescent as the baby boomer stars aged and grew ever redder.

nasa's hubble space telescope
Relic galaxy have more stars than milky way.

The very rare and odd assemblage of stars has remained essentially unchanged for the past 10 billion years, scientists said. In addition, NGC 1277 also has a central black hole that is much more massive than it should be for a galaxy of that size.

This reinforces the scenario that the supermassive black hole and dense hub of the galaxy grew simultaneously, but the galaxy’s stellar population stopped growing and expanding because it was starved of outside material, the study showed. While Hubble has spotted relic galaxies before, but this one is by far the closest.

“We can explore such original galaxies in full detail and probe the conditions of the early universe,” said Ignacio Trujillo, from the varsity.

For the study, the team started looking for “arrested development” galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and found 50 candidate massive compact galaxies. IANS

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Cosmic Crash with Dwarf Galaxy Reshaped Milky Way: Study

This spacecraft has been mapping the stellar content of our galaxy, recording the journeys of stars as they travel through the Milky Way

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Cosmic Crash with Dwarf Galaxy Reshaped Milky Way: Study
Cosmic Crash with Dwarf Galaxy Reshaped Milky Way: Study. (IANS)

A dramatic head-on collision with a dwarf galaxy, dubbed the “Gaia Sausage” galaxy, about 10 billion years ago reshaped the structure of our galaxy, the Milky Way, fashioning both its inner bulge and its outer halo, new research suggests.

The dwarf did not survive the impact. It quickly fell apart, and the wreckage is now all around us, according to the findings.

“The collision ripped the dwarf to shreds, leaving its stars moving in very radial orbits” that are long and narrow like needles, said Vasily Belokurov of the University of Cambridge and the Center for Computational Astrophysics at the Flatiron Institute in New York City.

The stars’ paths take them “very close to the centre of our galaxy. This is a telltale sign that the dwarf galaxy came in on a really eccentric orbit and its fate was sealed.”

The results detailed in a series of new papers in the journals the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, The Astrophysical Journal Letters and arXiv.org outline the salient features of this extraordinary event.

Several of the papers were led by Cambridge graduate student GyuChul Myeong. He and colleagues used data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite.

Cosmic rays
Representational image. Pixabay

This spacecraft has been mapping the stellar content of our galaxy, recording the journeys of stars as they travel through the Milky Way.

Thanks to Gaia, astronomers now know the positions and trajectories of our celestial neighbours with unprecedented accuracy.

The paths of the stars from the galactic merger earned them the moniker the “Gaia Sausage,” explained Wyn Evans of Cambridge.

“We plotted the velocities of the stars, and the sausage shape just jumped out at us. As the smaller galaxy broke up, its stars were thrown onto very radial orbits. These Sausage stars are what’s left of the last major merger of the Milky Way,” Evans said.

Also Read: NASA’s Hubble finds ‘relic galaxy’ near Milky Way

The new research also identified at least eight large, spherical clumps of stars called globular clusters that were brought into the Milky Way by the Sausage galaxy.

Small galaxies generally do not have globular clusters of their own, so the Sausage galaxy must have been big enough to host a collection of clusters.

“While there have been many dwarf satellites falling onto the Milky Way over its life, this was the largest of them all,” said Sergey Koposov of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US. (IANS)