According to a new study, the Milky Way, our Earth, the Sun, and everything in between or around them could be made out of extragalactic matter. More simply put, it could be composed of star material from outside our galaxy.
Northwestern University astrophysicists are behind this new study. According to them, they created a “first of its kind analysis”. This shows that the Milky Way’s origins may be more far flung and less locally created than initially believed.
Extragalactic Matter, the Source Material for Many Galaxies?
The study team used supercomputer simulations to track and analyze how matter moved around the Universe over time. They called this process “intergalactic transfer”. These 3D simulation models tracked the generated galaxies from their early days following the Big Bang, up to the present day.
The simulation points out that collapsing supernovae can eject enormous quantities of gas from their galaxies. In turn, this transforms the atoms from their stars to farther away places, helping them from one galaxy to another.
“It is likely that much of the Milky Way’s matter was in other galaxies before it was kicked out by a powerful wind, traveled across intergalactic space and eventually found its new home in the Milky Way,” states Daniel Anglés-Alcázar.
He is the lead author and a Northwestern University postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA).
Anglés-Alcázar continues by stating that, together with his colleagues, they determined that possibly a half of the matter in the Milky Way might have come from other galaxies. Perhaps even very distant ones.
Anglés-Alcázar states that, given the significant amount of extragalactic matter in the Milky Way, people could consider themselves “space travelers”.
Now, the study team reports that they will be looking to test their simulations and result with real data. One collected by Earth-based observatories and also space telescopes.
A research paper with the current study results is available in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Image Source: Wikimedia
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