Researchers discover galactic shield of gas surrounding the Magellanic Cloud galaxies

The largest satellite galaxies of the Milky Way — the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds — have been undergoing a treacherous interaction for billions of years. As the galactic pair are pulled toward the Milky Way, they are constantly orbiting each other and unraveling themselves, creating massive trails of gaseous debris. Yet, the galaxies have remained intact and continue to host star formation inside of them — something that has puzzled astronomers and physicists for years. However, using data from the joint NASA/European Space Agency Hubble Space Telescope and the NASA/Canadian Space Agency/French Space Agency Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) spacecraft, a group of scientists have finally figured out how the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds continue to form stars despite their rigorous interaction. “A lot of people were struggling to explain how these streams of material could be there. If this gas was removed from these galaxies, how are they still forming stars?” said Dhanesh Krishnarao, assistant professor at Colorado College and the lead of the study. A massive shield of hot supercharged gas called a corona surrounds the Magellanic systems, enveloping the galaxies and preventing their gas supplies from being siphoned off by the nearby Milky Way —…

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Researchers discover galactic shield of gas surrounding the Magellanic Cloud galaxies

Updated: October 9, 2022 — 10:27 am