A team of researchers from Germany, France and the UK have discovered a long, thin filament of dense gas that connects the two spiral arms of the Milky Way. In their paper published in Astrophysics Journal Letter, the group describes their work studying carbon monoxide in the galaxy.
Previous research has shown that galaxy It has features called feathers – long gaseous filaments with spines visible from the ground like feathers. However, due to the difficulty of studying the Milky Way from the Earth’s perspective, such features have not been seen.
In their work, researchers have studied concentration carbon monoxide gas In data from the APEX Telescope in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. They observed a concentration that had never been seen before, and upon closer inspection, they found that it was part of a massive gas formation that stretched from near the galactic center to the outside, joining the two arms that gave the galaxy its distinctive features. appearance.
Researchers have named the formation the Gangotri wave – in honor of the massive glacier whose melting gave rise to the Ganges River. In India, the Milky Way is known as Akasha Ganga. The newly discovered plume extends approximately from 5.6764e + 16 to 1.22989e + 17 kilometers in range between the arms and about 1.6083242e + 17 kilometers from the galactic center of rotation. They also estimate its mass to be about nine suns. Prior to the new discovery, all the tendrils of gas in the Milky Way were aligned with the spiral arms.
The researchers found that Gangotri waves have another unique and interesting feature of not being as straight as expected. Instead, it zigzags back and forth along its length in a pattern similar to a sine wave. The researchers haven’t been able to explain the strange phenomenon, but they note that there are several forces that must be at play — forces that are likely to be the focus of many future research efforts. The team plans to continue their study of the gas in the Milky Way, this time actively looking for new feathers.
VS Veena et al, Kilobarsec-scale particle waves in the inner galaxy: Milky Way plume?, Astrophysics Journal Letter (2021). DOI: 10.3847 / 2041-8213 / ac341f
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quote: ‘Gangotri wave’ connecting the two spiral arms of the Milky Way (2021, 27 November) discovered on 28 November 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-11-gangotri-milky-spiral-arms.html
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