Scientists Discovers a Galaxy Similar to the Milky Way

Saturday, November 18, 2017 - 16:48

Researchers from University in Seoul (South Korea) found remarkably similar to the Milky Way galaxy in the constellation Hydra.

At least 50 galaxies orbit the Milky Way. Most have run out of gas because they’ve spent more time close enough to our galaxy for it to steal their gas. But two of the nearest satellites – the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds – have been in our neighbourhood for less time, and still possess lots of gas that spawns new stars. The two galaxies are respectively 160,000 and 200,000 light years from us and 75,000 light years from each other, NewScientist reports.

This arrangement is rare. Most giant galaxies don’t have even one star-making companion nearby, let alone two. That’s probably because a giant galaxy strips small neighbours of gas, thwarting their ability to make new stars.

Sanjaya Paudel and Chandreyee Sengupta at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, looked through images of nearly 20,000 small galaxies for a pair that resides near a giant galaxy. “It’s obviously very difficult,” says Paudel.

Nevertheless, the astronomers succeeded, finding a giant barred spiral galaxy in the constellation Hydra named NGC 2718 that resembles the Milky Way. Moreover, it has two bright star-forming companions named UGC 4703. A bridge of young stars connects the two smaller galaxies, indicating they are interacting with each other, just as the Magellanic Clouds are.

“They have definitely found a better analogue than any of the cases we presented,” says Philip James at Liverpool John Moores University, who in 2011 published the results of a search for such systems and found them exceedingly rare.

“This one is particularly interesting because it is clear that the two smaller galaxies are interacting,” says Gurtina Besla at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “That wasn’t as clear in any of the other existing analogues.”

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