The Andromeda galaxy, our closest neighbor, it turns out, hides a very dark past. Astronomers from the University of Michigan found that about two billion years ago Andromeda swallowed the sister of our milky way. All so, our galaxy has a sister, and she ate it.
Scientists have long suspected that the Andromeda could eat lots of other smaller galaxies that were located near it. This was noted especially her halo or aura, which is a gaseous atmosphere surrounding the galaxy. However, the researchers could not understand how greedy was she, and how many neighbors during its existence it has absorbed. Using computer simulations, scientists from the University of Michigan found that the outer part of the Andromeda halo largely consists of the balance of a very large galaxy, which she ruthlessly butchered.
“Astronomers studying the local group of galaxies (in her go milky Way, Andromeda and their neighbors) for a long time. For us was a complete surprise news that the milky Way was a twin sister. We were not even aware of its existence,” comments Eric bell, co-author of scientific articles published in the journal Nature Astronomy, describing the discovery.
The researchers reported that the sister of the milky Way, called the M32p, was very massive a galaxy, the size of which constituted 1/3 of Andromeda and the milky Way. The discovery allows scientists if not solve, then at least offer a solution for another interesting puzzle. Near the Andromeda galaxy is more compact galaxy satellite M32. It was opened in 1749, the French astronomer Le Gentil. For a long time scientists could not understand where he could receive the satellite of Andromeda. Now the researchers suggest that a tight compact galaxy M32 is actually the remnants of galaxy M32p – sisters of the milky Way.
“The M32 is a very strange galaxy. It looks like a plain old compact elliptical galaxy, however, a more careful study it turns out that it contains many young stars. This is one of the most compact galaxies in the observable Universe. Other as it just not there,” adds bell.
The discovery not only adds to our knowledge about the Universe and about how things are going and the galaxy, it also opens our eyes to how “bloodthirsty” is the neighboring Andromeda. In the end, our milky Way is awaiting the same fate as the M32. Approximately 4.7 billion years Andromeda will collide with our galaxy, forming a new megahalem, which scientists have nicknamed Mlekodaj.