Skip to comments.Milky Way may have a huge hidden neighbour....
Posted on 08/21/2009 12:46:43 PM PDT by TaraP
A LARGE satellite galaxy may be lurking, hidden from view, next door to our own. Sukanya Chakrabarti and Leo Blitz of the University of California, Berkeley, suspected that the gravity of a nearby galaxy was causing perturbations that have been observed in gas on the fringes of the Milky Way. "We did a large range of simulations where we varied the mass of the perturber and the distance of closest approach," says Chakrabarti. In the best-fitting simulation, the unseen galaxy has about 1 per cent of the Milky Way's mass, or 10 billion times the mass of the sun. That's a lot. It means the object has roughly the same mass as the Milky Way's brightest satellite galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). Right now, says Chakrabarti, the galaxy is roughly 300,000 light years away from us - about twice as far away as the LMC. But the simulations suggest it follows a highly elongated elliptical path, and about 300 million years ago it swept through our own galaxy just 16,000 light years from the galactic centre - closer in than Earth - disturbing the Milky Way's outskirts as it went.
(Excerpt) Read more at newscientist.com ...
To make matters worse, the simulations suggest that the galaxy orbits ours in the same plane as our galaxy’s disc. If it is now on the opposite side of the galaxy from us, it could be hiding behind the thick gas and dust in the galactic plane. “It’s very likely to be in a region of very high obscuration,” says Chakrabarti. The work will appear in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
By further studying the distribution of gas, Chakrabarti hopes to pinpoint the galaxy’s location so that astronomers will know where to look for it. This parallels the way astronomers in the 1840s discovered Neptune from irregularities in the motion of Uranus caused by gravitational tugs from the more distant planet.
If the unseen galaxy exists, it will be the first nearby galaxy detected through its gravity rather than its starlight.
It wouldn't be the Mars bar, would it?
Can you even buy Mars bars anymore? I don't see them in the stores in central VA.
I knew it. I could feel the pull of the other galaxy when I flew across the country
(obscure reference to Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow)
Unless maybe you are hiding it behind the shed out back.
Then, yeah, sure.
They can be bought here in the US, but are much more common in the UK.
Hide and seek on a truly galactic scale!
Right here in this END TIMES era . . . when
SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS is in the script!
Very misleading title then.
Well, my wish for all FReepers is that the next time this thing comes plowing through the Milky Way galaxy, disturbing everything to which it comes near, that it doesn’t come anywhere near Uranus.
There was a theory floating around I read about recently that the Earth is actually part of a small galaxy or cluster of stars that collided with the Milky Way Galaxy.
And of course, we all know about the Dec 21 2012 theory of our demise based on a perfect alignment of our solar system with the center of the galaxy or some such.
Ah, yes! Now I understand.
It's not the same Mars bar sold in the U.K., I understand.
No, no, no--just put it in a marble tied around your cat's neck.
Now I have to start looking :)
Must be Laz.
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