A structure resembling the debris of a galactic collision has been discovered in a nearby galaxy

An international team of scientists analyzed data from multiple sources and found that the Small Magellanic Cloud, one of the Milky Way’s satellites, contains two distinct structures with different chemical compositions. . These may be the remnants of her two ancient galaxies that collided. Stars within these structures have different concentrations of heavy elements and also differ in the composition of their molecular clouds. The most likely reason for such a difference is a collision between two ancient galaxies, but we cannot exclude a scenario in which the Small Magellanic Cloud splits into its two parts due to the gravitational influence of the Large Magellanic Cloud .

The data that allowed scientists to reach these conclusions was collected using the GASKAP-Hi radio telescope located in Australia. This radio telescope will serve as a prototype for his promising SKA radio telescope, which will be the largest in the world. GASKAP-Hi allows you to find and study the structure of neutral hydrogen clouds. Those star clusters in the Small Magellanic Cloud have long been of interest to scientists. That’s because the stars in this galaxy contain very few metals in the astronomical sense, that is, elements heavier than hydrogen or helium.

The researchers supplemented the GASKAP-Hi data with information from the orbiting GAIA telescope and the APOGEE infrared exploration project. After analyzing all this data, scientists discovered that the Small Magellanic Cloud contains two distinct structures with different chemical compositions and properties of the stellar populations in these regions. Now, scientists must find an answer to the question of which of the two scenarios is more plausible. A collision between two ancient galaxies, or the gravitational influence of a larger neighboring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud.

source: https://arxiv.org/abs/2312.07750