Andromeda formed in ‘recent’ star crash: study
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.