Gaia Telescope Reveals Precise Date of the Milky Way's Last Act of Galactic Cannibalism

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Gaia Telescope Reveals Precise , Date of the Milky Way's Last , Act of Galactic Cannibalism.
Space.com reports that the latest findings from the Gaia
space telescope suggest that our Milky Way Galaxy may
have cannibalized a smaller galaxy relatively recently. .
The last major collision between the Milky Way
and another galaxy appears to have occurred billions
of years closer to now than previously believed.
Scientists have long known that the
Milky Way was formed through a series
of violent collisions with other galaxies. .
These massive collisions distribute stars
from the consumed galaxy throughout the
halo that surrounds the Milky Way's main disk. .
Galactic cannibalism sends "wrinkles"
through the galaxy, impacting different
families of stars in a number of ways.
Gaia now looks to retell the story of the
Milky Way by quantifying those wrinkles.
We get wrinklier as we age,
but our work reveals that the
opposite is true for the Milky Way.
It’s a sort of cosmic Benjamin Button,
getting less wrinkly over time. , Thomas Donlon, Study team leader of the Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute and University of Alabama scientist, via Space.com.
By looking at how these
wrinkles dissipate over time,
we can trace when the Milky Way
experienced its last big crash –
and it turns out this happened billions
of years later than we thought, Thomas Donlon, Study team leader of the Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute and University of Alabama scientist, via Space.com.
Astronomers have only been aware of these
wrinkles since Gaia discovered them in 2018. .
The latest findings represent the first time they have
been extensively investigated to find the
precise timing of the collision that spawned them.

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