Astronomers Find A Massive “Cosmic Fingerprint”

galaxies eraoflightThere is a mysterious universe out there.

Proof of that is the countless discoveries that have been made in the past years. With each discovery, it seems we only learn how little we know about the cosmos. Now, a recent image shared by the European Space Agency has revealed a stunning new cosmic feature: A kind of massive cosmic fingerprint.

Thanks to ESA’s Gaia mission, which has managed to document a collection of more than 1.7 Billion stares in the Milky Way, the European Space Agency’s Mission has spotted something extraordinary by observing the Large Magellanic Cloud, or the LMC. The first recorded mention of the Large Magellanic Cloud was by the Persian astronomer `Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi Shirazi, (later known in Europe as “Azophi”), in his Book of Fixed Stars around 964 AD.

The second data release of ESA’s Gaia mission has produced an extraordinary catalog of over one and a half billion stars in our galaxy. Based on observations between July 2014 to May 2016, it includes the most accurate information yet on the positions, brightness, distance, motion, color, and temperature of stars in the Milky Way as well as information on asteroids and quasars.

The second release features an incredible characteristic of the Large Magellanic Cloud.

Rotation of the Large Magellanic Cloud. Image Credit: ESA

The Large Magellanic Cloud is located some 200,000 light years from Earth, and it is a Satellite Galaxy of the Milky Way, floating around in space, dancing together in slow motion while traveling through space.

According to reports, the Large Magellanic Cloud has a diameter of about 14,000 light-years (4.3 kpcs) and a mass of approximately 10 billion solar masses, making it roughly 1/100 as massive as the Milky Way. The Large Magellanic cloud is home to the Tarantula Nebula, the most active star-forming region in the Local Group.

Using data gathered from Gaia, scientists say exquisite details about the structure of the Milky Way, its satellites, and the stellar population, in general, were revealed.

By measuring the proper movement of several million stars in the LMC, astronomers were able to see how the stars rotated clockwise around the center of the galaxy.

The impression of movement is what captured the attention of skygazers: It ends up forming a sort of human fingerprint.

Astronomers are interested in deriving the orbits of globular clusters, ancient systems of stars linked by gravity and found in the halo of the Milky Way, and dwarf galaxies that orbit the Milky Way.

This will provide extremely important information to study the past evolution of our galaxy and its environment.

Curiously, the same rotation of the LMC was also spotted by NASA in 2014 when the Hubble Space Telescope revealed that it takes 250 million years for the satellite dwarf galaxy to complete a full rotation.



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