Research

Astronomers: Something unknown like a bullet punched a hole inside the Milky Way

Scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysicsin confusion. Something “unknown, dense, invisible through telescopes and consisting, most likely, not of ordinary matter, as if a bullet pierced and made giant holes inside our Milky Way galaxy”. Evidence of this was presented at the conference of the American Physical Society in Denver (USA) by astrophysicist Anna Bonaka.

Discovered by her holes in the Milky Waylocated in the longest stellar flow GD-1. They are groups of stars moving along the orbits of galaxies. Once they were a small globular cluster or dwarf galaxy, and now fly away.

Under normal conditions, the researcher notesthe stream must be drawn more or less into a line with one gap where the globular cluster was originally located before the stars began to fly in different directions. But Bonaca demonstrated that GD-1 has a second gap. Interestingly, this second gap has torn edges - as if something huge broke through the stream not so long ago and dragged behind it some of the stars under the influence of the enormous force of gravity.

“We cannot attribute this phenomenon to anyluminous object, which was observed before. It is something much more massive than a star. Something a million times more massive than our Sun. There are no stars of such a mass. We cannot explain it. If it were a black hole, it would have to be as supermassive as the one in the center of our galaxy, ”Bonaka told Live Science in an interview.

The scientist believes that exclude the possibility ofIn the Milky Way, of course, the second supermassive black hole is impossible. However, in this case, we would have noticed some signs of its presence, for example, a flash or the emission of its accretion disk. At the same time, an astrophysicist notes, most large galaxies have only one supermassive black hole in the center.

Another hypothesis of a scientist is a large clot of dark matter. However, Bonaka notes that the object is not necessarily completely, 100% of dark matter.

"Perhaps this is a luminous object thathiding somewhere in the galaxy. However, this is unlikely, since its size - and it’s about 10–20 parsecs (30 to 65 light years) across - would be hard to hide, ”the scientist adds.

At the moment - this is the only study of its kind, and it has not yet been published in any scientific journal with the name, but received the approval of astrophysicists who gathered at the conference.

The work was carried out using dataGaia Space Observatory of the European Space Agency, which is mapping stars and their movements inside the Milky Way. Thanks to this mission, scientists were able to compile the most comprehensive at the current moment catalog of stars of our galaxy, which also included the GD-1 stellar flux.

She backed up her analysis with data collected fromwith the help of the Multi-mirror Telescope located in Arizona, which showed which stars move in the direction of the Earth, and which, on the contrary, move away. This helped her identify the stars that are actually part of the GD-1 stream, in which the second hole and a previously unseen region were discovered.

Bonaka notes that he is going to continue workto search for an unknown source of the most powerful gravity that punched a hole in the stellar flow, however, the main purpose of its research is to map the clumps of dark matter scattered throughout the Milky Way.

You can discuss the article in our Telegram-chat.