Astronomers uncover ancient collision between Milky Way and smaller 'Sausage' galaxy

An impression of the encounter between the Milky Way and the Sausage dwarf galaxy. Image credit V. Belokurov  Juan Carlos Muñoz  ESO

"As the smaller galaxy broke up, its stars were thrown out on very radial orbits".

Using data from Gaia, the researchers were able to analyze the velocities of the stars and plot their trajectories.

"We plotted the velocities of stars, and the sausage shape just jumped out at us", said Professor Wyn Evans, from the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge.

While the Sausage galaxy collision is by no means the only instance of another galaxy hitting the Milky Way, it is the largest dwarf satellite galaxy known to have collided with our own, the researchers said.

The remnants of a powerful collision between the Milky Way and a smaller galaxy, which happened billions of years ago can still be seen today.

Though it is very hard to find precise details of cosmic events that occurred several billion years ago in a young universe, scientists keep looking for telltale signs that could provide us more insight into the evolution of our galaxy. Unlike most stars in the Galaxy, they are not moving at approximately constant distance from its center, moving closer to him or away from him. "This is a telltale sign that the dwarf galaxy came in on a really eccentric orbit and its fate was sealed". Its total mass in gas, stars and dark matter was more than 10 billion times the mass of our Sun.

Galaxies collide with each other on a pretty regular basis. When the sausage crashed into the young Milky Way, its molestation caused a lot of catastrophes.

In the monthly notification of The Royal Astronomical Society, newspapers, The Astrophysical Journal Letters and arXiv.org demonstrate the main features of this unexpected occasion. Also, upon the crash, the Milky Way disk could have ruptured, and since then it might have replenished. And Sausage wrecks were surrounded in the center of the galaxy, used to make "bulge" in the center of the galaxy and the "stellar halo" in the surrounding.Denis Erkal of Surrey University said the mathematical simulation of the vast mash-up can duplicate these features.

In simulations run by researchers, 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. As the sun lies in the center of this enormous cloud of stars, the distribution does not include the slowed-down stars now making a U-turn back toward the galaxy's center. Second, debris from the collision could have created the "bulge" at the Milky Way's center. New work tells how stars fell in the first place in such narrow classes.

The researchers also identified at least eight globular clusters that were brought into the Milky Way by the Sausage galaxy. 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 Dr. Sergey Koposov, of Carnegie Mellon University.

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