Cosmic collision with 'Sausage' galaxy reshaped Milky Way

The Milky Way's starry disk is bigger than previously thought a new study reports. It extends to at least the inner dotted circle in this illustration and may reach even farther out. Credit R. Hurt SSC-Caltech NASA  JPL-Caltech

The Milky Way's starry disk is bigger than previously thought a new study reports. It extends to at least the inner dotted circle in this illustration and may reach even farther out. Credit R. Hurt SSC-Caltech NASA JPL-Caltech

However, after the collision, the stars left behind from the Sausage galaxy moved in radial orbits in long, narrow patterns, according to the statement.

Looks like lost star cluster had an elongated shape, so called "Sausage Gaia" (Gaia Sausage).

Professor Wyn Evans of the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge explained that it's the paths of the stars from the galactic merger that earned the moniker "the Gaia sausage". During this period the milky Way collided with a dwarf galaxy and swallowed it, and he went through a major restructuring. The Sausage galaxy gets its name from this sausage-shaped, radial orbit. However, because the Sausage galaxy is so large, it caused more damage than usual, they added.

An global team of astronomers has found that certain stars traveling in a peculiar orbit near the center of the Milky Way are the remains of a head-to-head encounter with a dwarf galaxy called Sausage.

"This is a telltale sign that the dwarf galaxy came in on a really eccentric orbit and its fate was sealed", says Vasily Belokuro of the University of Cambridge.

Galaxies collide with each other on a pretty regular basis.

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The "Sausage galaxy" implicated in the impact with the early Milky Way possessed a mass of over ten billion times the volume of the Sun.

When the Sausage crashed into the young Milky Way, its piercing trajectory caused a lot of mayhem. Milky Way's disk probably expanded up, that fractured the impact over it which would have needed to regrow. Third, this collision and the scattering of stars and debris could have also created a "stellar halo" around our galaxy.

In simulations run by the team, stars from the Sausage galaxy enter stretched-out orbits. Trajectories have advanced beyond the rising Milky Way disc, which becomes dry after the collision and becomes thicker.

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. "The Sausage stars are all turning around at about the same distance from the center of the Galaxy", said Dr. Alis Deason, from Durham University. These are the reasons for dramatically reducing the density in the stellar halo of the U-turn galaxy where the stars slide in directions. New work tells how stars fell in the first place in such narrow classes.

That said, it is also worth noting apart from weirdly orbiting stars, Milky Way also inherited at least globular clusters, large spheroidal stellar groupings, from the Sausage dwarf. Small galaxies usually do not comprise galobular clusters, so the sausage galaxy to swarm the cluster gathering should be quite enormous.

"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 the United States, who has studied the kinematics of the Sausage stars and globular clusters in detail.

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