Cosmic Tadpole Solves Mysteries About the Milky Way

Wednesday, 11 June 2014 - 4:13PM
Astronomy
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 - 4:13PM
Cosmic Tadpole Solves Mysteries About the Milky Way

The nearby 'UGC 10214' Galaxy, more commonly recognized by its other name - the tadpole galaxy - is challenging scientists' out-of-date mapping of the universe. 

 

The galaxy, in the Draco constellation about 400 million light years away from us, derives its amphibian name from it's unusual 280,000 light-year-long tail. With the help of recent optical imaging of the galaxy taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, scientists are claiming that the tail formation suggests that the unusual galaxy must have slowly formed from a collision between two neighboring galaxies. 

 

Scientists believe that the smaller of the two galaxies now forms the visible head of the "tadpole," while the tail is composed of newer stars borne out of the larger galaxy's debris and dust that the collision caused. As the "tail" spirals outwards, more and more debris and star clusters fan out, joining their matter to that of the neighboring dwarf galaxies (some of which were certainly created by the impact of the collision itself). 

 

Perhaps the example of this galaxy's formation will help scientists understand the discrepancies between the observed behavior of our own galaxy and their (most likely) faulty cosmological theories on galactic formation. According to current theories of cosmology, there should be dwarf galaxies scattered randomly around the Milky Way, but we have only been able to observe 26 dwarf galaxy companions. This behavior could be reconciled with cosmological predictions if our galaxy underwent a similar collision in its distant past.

Science
Space
Astronomy