The Small Magellanic Cloud is made up of two galaxies?  Magellan may be erased from the star chart

Claire Murray of the Space Telescope Institute and her team published a paper in which, based on the movement of gas clouds and newly formed stars within them, they concluded that the structure visible in the sky is two galaxies separated by thousands of years. From the earthly point of view, they line up one after another.

Both the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds belong to our Galaxy and will pass through the Milky Way in the future. The Large Magellanic Cloud has been studied the most extensively to date. Especially since searching for Small Cloud is very difficult. It has previously been suggested that it may consist of many parts, but the gravitational influence of the Milky Way and the Large Magellanic Cloud, which greatly affects the irregular shape of the small cloud, makes it difficult to discover the truth.

Murray and his colleagues looked at hydrogen cloud data obtained from the Australian Pathfinder Square Kilometer Array and compared it to the positions and velocities of thousands of stars less than 10 million years old for which they collected data from the Gaia telescope. They assumed that such young stars would still move with the cloud of gas from which they formed. In this way, they were able to identify two clouds with different compositions in which stars form. Based on available data, they found that the distance between these regions is 16,000 miles. Light year. This study is the strongest evidence yet that the Small Magellanic Cloud is actually two galaxies.

If further research confirms this, we will have to choose a name for the newly discovered galaxy. This may become an excuse… to remove Magellan from the map of the sky. A few months ago, the journal Physics published an article in which Mia de los Reyes of Amherst College reported the formation of “a coalition of astronomers calling for changing the name of the Milky Way’s two brightest galaxies, as well as other astronomical objects and research infrastructure named after them.” Name of a Portuguese explorer who killed and enslaved indigenous people.



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