The Milky Way stole several dwarf galaxies from the neighboring Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) galaxy, a newly published study notes. According to the study which has been published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, all of this happened because of an ongoing merger between the two galaxies.
The dwarf constellations include Carina and Fornax. LMC is around 158,200 lightyears away from Earth. It contains approximately 30 billion stars. The theft of these dwarf galaxies from LMC came from new data generated by the Gaia space telescope.
According to the findings, “at least four ultrafaint dwarfs and two classical dwarfs,” were a part of the LMC, a statement said announcing the findings.
“These results are an important confirmation of our cosmological models, which predict that small dwarf galaxies in the universe should also be surrounded by a population of smaller fainter galaxy companions,” Laura Sales the leader of the research team said in the statement. “This is the first time that we are able to map the hierarchy of structure formation to such faint and ultrafaint dwarfs.”
The researchers compared the information by Gaia space telescope with the simulations that played out these movements over long periods. The comparison showed that four ultrafaint dwarfs and two other dwarf galaxies (Carina and Fornax) were earlier part of the LMC. However, the Milky Way is a bigger galaxy with a stronger gravitational force that managed to pull them away from LMC.
The theft, however, did not happen a very long time ago. According to the research’s findings, the small galaxies came into the Milky Way around 1 billion years ago which in cosmic terms is only a fraction.
“If so many dwarfs came along with the LMC only recently, that means the properties of the Milky Way satellite population just 1 billion years ago were radically different, impacting our understanding of how the faintest galaxies form and evolve,” Sales said in the statement.
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