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43,000 Light-Years-Long Bridge Hitch on Two Largest Satellite Galaxies of Milky Way

The Magellanic Clouds

The Magellanic Clouds – two irregular dwarf and largest galaxies of Earth’s local galaxy Milky Way are hooked up by 43,000 light years long bridge, reported the new study conducted by a group of scientists from the University Of Cambridge, England. The discovery of the celestial bridge sandwiched between two largest galaxies of Milky Way is based on the Galactic Stellar poll, conducted by the European Space Observatory and Gaia. The complete details of the study appeared in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS).

According to the new international study, The Magellanic Clouds or Nubeculae Magellani is connected by a never-before-seen celestial bridge, which stretched out nearly 43, 000 light years long. The scientists, for conducting research and concluding an accurate result, focused more on the vicinity of the Magellanic Clouds and also drew on the Gaia database. By analyzing the entire database, they entered into with a particular type of pulsating stars which are allegedly called RR Lyrae – timeworn and chemically unchangeable.

According to the researchers, these stars have been around the Milky Way since the most primitive era of Magellanic Clouds’ existence and hence they are the perfect zone to get an in-depth insight into the duo’s olden times. The Large Magellanic Clouds (LMC) and Small Magellanic Clouds (SMC) are the most visible, brightest, and largest, illustrations of dwarf satellite galaxies residing in the region of the Milky Way. The duo is re also noticeable for the southern hemisphere. Both are renowned as great navigation makers of the Milky Way.

Since their first millennium in Western Asia, the Magellanic Clouds have been an enigma to the scientists and research attempting to explore their mystery are numerous. The distance between both galaxies is roughly 75,000 light-years, and both reside 21° separately in the night sky. Earlier to the discovery of the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy in 1994, the Magellanic Clouds were known as the closest known galaxies to Earth’s local Galaxy – Milky Way.

While earlier, both are believed to be detached from each other, the new study has found a minimal bridge, hooking up both galaxies. According to Vasily Belokuro, the lead author of the study from University of Cambridge, “After marking the positions of the Gaia RR Lyrae on the sky, we were taken aback to perceive a thin bridge-like formation linking the Magellanic Clouds.”

About the author

Dave Mustaine

Dave, one of the associate writers at Science Examiner, has been taking care of all the space-related coverage. He loves to write about the latest happenings in space, and before joining Science Examiner, Dave was a part of the editorial board of a local magazine.

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