The Milky Way galaxy is the home to 100 billion to 200 billion stars, and God knows to how many other planets besides our own. Scientists estimate that the majority of stars are also hosting planets that revolve around them, just like it happens in our own Solar System.
Our Milky Way galaxy is still far from being anywhere near to perfection. It harbors black holes, quasars, supernovae, completely inhabitable planets, and so on. But according to a new study from the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh, things become even weirder than scientists thought.
Collision between Milky Way and the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC)
The collision happened 700 million years ago, according to the scientists from the University of Edinburgh, which practically means not too long ago in astronomical terms. The event left a long-lasting mark in the shape of our galaxy. The effects of the collision are still visible today, as the Milky Way is currently undergoing serious contortions.
The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) exists as a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, and we can see it in the night sky of the Southern Hemisphere with the naked eye. Jorge Peñarrubia, who is Personal Chair of Gravitational Dynamics, declared:
This discovery definitely breaks the spell that our galaxy is in some sort of equilibrium state. Actually, the recent infall of the LMC is causing violent perturbations onto the Milky Way,
Understanding these may give us an unparalleled view on the distribution of dark matter in both galaxies.
Recent research also revealed that there’s a huge halo of dark matter that surrounds both the Large Magellanic Cloud and the Milky Way. The mere existence of dark matter remains one of the greatest mysteries in science: nobody knows exactly what it is, but it plays a crucial role in the distribution of stars in galaxies, and it also allows the unexplainable motion of such cosmic objects.