Participants in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey have discovered a so-called fossil galaxy hiding in the depths of the Milky Way. This discovery could affect the understanding of the evolution of our galaxy.
The observations were carried out as part of the Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) initiative. Researchers named the discovered galaxy Hercules.
According to preliminary estimates, this galaxy could have collided with the Milky Way about 10 billion years ago, when our galaxy, in fact, was in its infancy. The remnants of Hercules can account for up to a third of the spherical halo of the Milky Way, which consists mainly of rarefied hot gas, stars and dark matter.
It is noted that the remains of Hercules have so far not been possible to identify because they are located deep inside our galaxy. To find a fossil galaxy, it was necessary to carefully analyze the chemical composition and movement of tens of thousands of stars.
The APOGEE experiment examines near-infrared data. For ten years of work, the spectra of more than half a million of the most diverse luminaries have been studied.
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