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Mysterious ‘spiral object’ found swirling around Milky Way center

A strange spiral object has been discovered by researchers, and it has a hidden secret.

Scientists have discovered what appears to be a miniature spiral galaxy near the center of our Milky Way galaxy, according to a new study.


An illustration of the history of the mysterious spiral, showing (from bottom to top) its evolution 12,000 years ago, 8,000 years ago, 4,000 years ago, and today.Credit: Shanghai Astronomical Observatory

The spiral, however, is made of gas and dust and revolves around a single large star.

Located about 26,000 light-years from Earth, this star is massive, about 32 times larger than the Sun in our solar system.

It is also found within a larger disk of swirling gas, known as a “protostellar disk.”

There are thousands of these discs throughout the universe, as they help ‘feed’ young stars, allowing them to evolve into large suns.

a unique find

Researchers discovered this mysterious spiral through the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in Chile.

It’s considered a “unique” discovery because astronomers have never before observed a disk like this, one that looks like a miniature galaxy and sits perilously close to the center of our galaxy.

The team of scientists also found that the disk does not appear to move in a way that is consistent with other known spiral objects.

Instead, it appears that the object may have formed from a close collision with another body.

To test their theory, the researchers looked at dozens of possible orbits for the strange object.

And then they ran a simulation to see if any of them could produce the spiral shape.

After their evaluations, the researchers concluded that outer objects can burst stellar disks into spiral shapes.

“The good combination between analytical calculations, numerical simulation and ALMA observations provides strong evidence that the spiral arms in the disk are relics of the intruding object’s flyby,” said study co-author Lu Xing, a research associate at the Center Shanghai Astronomy. Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences said in a statement.

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Essentially, the findings show that disks are subject to processes like flybys early in their evolution.

And these processes can greatly influence the formation of stars and planets.

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