The Milky Way Galaxy is Rippling, While Scientists Discovered the Cause

The Milky Way Galaxy is Rippling, While Scientists Discovered the Cause

The Milky Way is larger than we may even be able to imagine, and it goes through some changes that were pretty unexpected. Similar to a pond being disrupted by a stone, the Milky Way galaxy is also rippling, and the “stone” is the size of about 400 million stars, as LiveScience reveals.

In a new study authored by Paul McMillan, who’s an astronomer at Lund University in Sweden, scientists used data gathered by the Gaia space observatory of the European Space Agency (ESA) to find out that the Milky Way’s stars are undergoing a mysterious ripple.

Sagittarius is to blame

What actually happened is that the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy, which is located nearby the Milky Way, has crashed into our galaxy several times in the distant past. The events resulted in stars from the Milky Way starting to oscillate at various speeds all across the galaxy. This isn’t the first time, however, that astronomers have discovered that our galaxy has been undergoing ripples due to a collision. But the difference is that the collision that makes the subject of this article led to stars located even on the outskirts of the galaxy getting perturbated. The last time Sagittarius paid the Milky Way such an unwanted visit was hundreds of millions of years ago. 

The Sagittarius dwarf galaxy measures only 10,000 light-years in diameter, which makes it ten times smaller than the Milky Way galaxy. Sagittarius even behaves as a satellite galaxy around our Milky Way, similar to a planet revolving around a star. 

On the other hand, our Milky Way galaxy was made from other smaller galaxies, according to previous studies. Unfortunately or not, nobody can take a clear picture of the entire galaxy where we all live.

The new study was published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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