Galactic collision may be bending our galaxy out of shape

The Milky Way's eons-long fender bender with another galaxy could be the reason for its warped shape.


NSFW    PARIS — The European Space Agency's space observatory Gaia may have found an explanation for the warped shape of the Milky Way Galaxy, which is bent into an S shape. This warp rotates with the galaxy's stars instead of standing still.

A study published in Nature Astronomy says that an ongoing collision with another galaxy, most likely the dwarf satellite galaxy Sagittarius, has disrupted the dish shape of our galaxy.

The European Space Agency launched Gaia in 2013 to render a 3D map of the Milky Way.

The agency says the survey will eventually take a spatial census of 1 billion stars in our galaxy, or 1 percent of its constituents.

Citing the authors, the European Space Agency says that Gaia mapped out the motions, velocity and distance of our galaxy's stars. The researchers then worked backward to determine when and how collisions with Sagittarius deformed our galactic dish.
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