|Manu||Date: Saturday, 19-June-2021, 12:02 PM | Message # 1|
|By Daisy Dobrijevic |
The rotation of the Milky Way bar has slowed by almost a quarter.
An artist's impression of the Milky Way galaxy, our cosmic home. (Image credit: NASA JPL)
The Milky Way rotates at a whopping 130 miles (210 kilometers) per second, but a new study has found that dark matter has slowed the rotation of its bar by at least 24% since its formation nearly 14 billion years ago.
"Astrophysicists have long suspected that the spinning bar at the center of our galaxy is slowing down, but we have found the first evidence of this happening," study co-author Ralph Schoenrich, an astrophysicist at University College London, said in a statement.
These new findings not only shed light on the rotation of the Milky Way but also provide an insight into the nature of one of the most elusive materials in the universe — dark matter.
he Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy with a thick band of stars in the center and large pivoting arms stretching out across the cosmos. Scientists think that a halo of dark matter surrounds the Milky Way, extending out far beyond its visible edge, as occurs at other galaxies.
In the new study, researchers used data from Gaia, a European Space Agency mission mapping the positions of billions of stars, to study the Hercules Stream, a thick cluster of stars that revolve around the Milky Way at the same rate that the galactic bar itself spins.
Because the stars in the Hercules Stream are gravitationally trapped by the pivoting bar, slowing down the bar's rotation would cause the stars to creep outward to keep their orbits in sync with the bar's spin.
The researchers found evidence of such an outward cosmic migration when they investigated the chemical makeup of the stars. The Hercules Stream stars are rich in heavier elements, suggesting that these stars formed closer to the galactic center, where stars are about 10 times richer in metals compared to those in the galactic suburbs.
Read more/full article/source - https://www.space.com/dark-matter-slows-milky-way-rotation