The galaxy where we live is named Milky Way. As per the recent study that involves studying the past of neighboring large galaxy Andromeda, our Milky Way galaxy is on its collision course with Andromeda.
Andromeda has consumed several smaller galaxies, likely inside the previous couple of billion years, with left-overs found in massive streams of stars. Now, it’s set its sights on the Milky Way as its next main course.
ANU researcher Dr Dougal Mackey, who co-led the study with Professor Geraint Lewis from the University of Sydney, said, “The international research team also found very faint traces of more small galaxies that Andromeda gobbled up even earlier, perhaps as far back as 10 billion years when it had been first forming.”
But, no need to panic- It won’t happen for about 4.5 billion years.
Dr. Mackey, from the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, said, “The Milky Way is on a collision course with Andromeda in about four billion years. So knowing what quite a monster our galaxy is up against is beneficial find out the Milky Way’s ultimate fate.”
“Andromeda features a much bigger and more complex stellar halo than the Milky Way , which indicates that it’s cannibalized more galaxies, possibly larger ones.”
“By tracing the faint remains of those smaller galaxies with embedded star clusters, we’ve been ready to recreate the way Andromeda drew them in and ultimately enveloped them at different times.”
The disclosure introduces several new mysteries, with the 2 bouts of galactic feeding originating from totally different directions. However, the foremost surprising discovery within the direction of ancient feeding is that the same because the bizarre ‘plane of satellites’, an unexpected alignment of dwarf galaxies orbiting Andromeda.
Previously, scientists discovered that such planes were fragile and rapidly destroyed by Andromeda’s gravity within a couple of billion years.
Professor Lewis said, “This deepens the mystery because the plane must be young, but it appears to be aligned with ancient feeding of dwarf galaxies. Maybe this is often due to the cosmic web, but really, this is often only speculation. We’re getting to need to think quite hard to unravel what this is often telling us.”
Dr. Mackey said, “studying Andromeda also informed understanding about the way our galaxy has grown and evolved over many billions of years.”
“One of our main motivations in studying astronomy is to know our place within the Universe. A new way of learning about our galaxy is to review others that are almost like it and check out to know how these systems formed and evolved.”
“Sometimes, this might be easier than watching the Milky Way because we live inside it, which can make sure types of observations quite difficult.”
The research were published in Nature.