Close  

Andromeda galaxy was formed in ‘recent’ star crash – study

/ 05:38 PM February 15, 2018

Calculating the birth date of the Andromeda galaxy has been a major challenge for astrophysicists. Image: HO – NASA/ESA/JPL-Caltech/NHSC/AFP/

The Milky Way’s neighboring galaxy, Andromeda, was formed in a colossal crash between two smaller star systems no more than three billion years ago when Earth already existed, researchers said Wednesday.

Calculating the birth date of the galaxy has been a major challenge for astrophysicists given the vast age gap between the different stars it is made up of.

ADVERTISEMENT

For the latest study, French and Chinese researchers led by Paris Observatory astronomer Francois Hammer used “the most powerful available computers in France” to crunch about a terabyte of data — the equivalent of two million 500-kilobyte photos.

This allowed them to zoom in on “the physical mechanisms of the Andromeda formation, so lifting the veil on its origin,” the observatory said in a statement.

FEATURED STORIES

The results were published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Previous research had noted one major difference between our own galaxy and Andromeda — long considered twin clusters, the team pointed out.

In Andromeda, certain stars orbit erratically while in the Milky Way, all stars observe a simple rotation around the galaxy’s center.

Why?

The star agitation was due to the galaxy’s “recent” formation, the team said.

The data showed that between seven and 10 billion years ago, two galaxies — one four times more massive than the other — found themselves on a collision course.

The team simulated both precursor galaxies’ trajectories and calculated that they fused between 1.8 billion and three billion years ago to forge Andromeda.

ADVERTISEMENT

Two reconstructions of the event can be seen here:

AB

RELATED STORIES:

Small asteroid to shave safely by Earth Friday

Five things to know about Elon Musk’s space projects

New insights into mysterious, cosmic ‘fast radio bursts’

TOPICS: Andromeda galaxy, astrophysics, galaxy formation, star crash
Read Next
LATEST STORIES
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
opinion

Much-deserved victory

October 19, 2019 05:07 AM

opinion

Cities can do city statistics

October 19, 2019 05:06 AM

opinion

Rizal’s German ties

October 19, 2019 05:05 AM

opinion

The Liveable Cities Challenge

October 19, 2019 05:04 AM

opinion

Time to win the elusive Olympic gold

October 19, 2019 05:03 AM



© Copyright 1997-2019 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.