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The Milky Way was “T-Boned” by a Dwarf Galaxy 3 Billion Years Ago
About two decades ago, astronomers identified an unusually high density of stars in our Milky Way Galaxy called the “Virgo Overdensity.” Star surveys revealed that some of these stars were moving toward us while others were moving away, which is unusual in that a cluster of stars would typically travel in concert. Based on emerging data, astrophysicists proposed that the overdensity was the result of a radial merger -- The stellar version of a T-bone crash of a dwarf galaxy into the Milky Way. It is believed that nearly 3 billion years ago, a dwarf galaxy plunged into the center of the Milky Way and was ripped apart by the gravitational forces of the collision. Astrophysicists at Rensselaer report that the merger produced a series of telltale shell-like formations of stars in the vicinity of the Virgo constellation -- The first such “shell structures” to be found in the Milky Way. The finding offers further evidence of the ancient event, and new possible explanations for other phenomena in the galaxy.
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