An­dromeda formed in ‘re­cent’ star crash: study

Gulf News - - Europe / United Kingdom -

The Milky Way’s neigh­bour­ing galaxy, An­dromeda, was formed in a colos­sal crash be­tween two smaller star sys­tems no more than three bil­lion years ago when Earth al­ready ex­isted, re­searchers said yes­ter­day.

Cal­cu­lat­ing the birth date of the galaxy has been a ma­jor chal­lenge for as­tro­physi­cists given the vast age gap be­tween the dif­fer­ent stars it is made up of.

For the lat­est study, French and Chi­nese re­searchers led by Paris Ob­ser­va­tory astronomer Fran­cois Ham­mer used “the most pow­er­ful avail­able com­put­ers in France” to crunch about a ter­abyte of data - the equiv­a­lent of two mil­lion 500-kilo­byte pho­tos.

This al­lowed them to zoom in on “the phys­i­cal mech­a­nisms of the An­dromeda for­ma­tion, so lift­ing the veil on its ori­gin,” the ob­ser­va­tory said in a state­ment.

The re­sults were pub­lished in the Monthly No­tices of the Royal As­tro­nom­i­cal So­ci­ety.

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