The Milky Way is Shooting Out Dense, Cold Gas Bullets from its Centre That Could Harm the Galaxy Later

The Milky Way may be shooting out cold, desse gas in the form of bullets from its centre | Image credit: Reuters

The Milky Way may be shooting out cold, desse gas in the form of bullets from its centre | Image credit: Reuters

This phenomenon was noticed by an international team of researchers using the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment operated by the European Southern Observatory in Chile and can be detrimental to the galaxy’s future.

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  • Last Updated: August 21, 2020, 8:02 PM IST

Scientists have observed an unusual activity in the Milky Way Galaxy. They found a dense and cold gas discharging from the centre of the galaxy like bullets.

This phenomenon was noticed by an international team of researchers using the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment operated by the European Southern Observatory in Chile.

The researchers said that the discharge of gas could be detrimental to the galaxy and could have implications for its future.

They asserted that when a galaxy drives out a lot of mass, it loses some material which could be used in the star formation, adding that if the loss is huge in amount, then it will not be able to form stars at all.

“So, to be able to see hints of the Milky Way losing this star-forming gas is kind of exciting. It makes you wonder what’s going to happen next,” ABC News reported quoting Australian National University professor Naomi McClure-Griffiths.

The professor also stated “galaxies can be good at shooting themselves in the foot,” referring to the “smoking gun”.

She said that the galaxy was not only losing hot gas from its centre, but also cold and very dense gas, adding that because it is heavier, cold gas moves around less easily.

However, the scientists have not found out the reason behind the phenomenon. They are working to solve this mystery.

“We see these kind of processes happening in other galaxies but, with external galaxies you get much more massive black holes, star formation activity is higher, it makes it easier for the galaxy to expel material,” said lead author Enrico Di Teodoro, from Johns Hopkins University.

The findings of the study were published in the journal Nature.


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