With the help of powerful computer simulations, scientists have followed the so-called spiral galaxy, from the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago until now. The study shows how the galaxy matures over time, through frontal collisions between stars, and becomes a stable spiral galaxy.
As a rule, chaos
“We have created a high-resolution simulation that gives a detailed picture of the evolution of an individual galaxy since the Big Bang. The simulation has given us a number of new insights into how spiral galaxies came to be,” says Oscar Agres, an astronomy researcher at Lund University.
After the Big Bang, chaos was the rule rather than the exception, the researchers wrote in a press release. Galaxies collided and stars formed within massive gas clouds very quickly. After a few billion years, the structures that would eventually become galaxies began to become more stable and mature into well-ordered spiral galaxies, just like our own Milky Way.
In the current study presented in the Journal of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the researchers started from the stars of the Milky Way. Using their locations, speeds, and levels of their elements, scientists have tried to understand how our galaxy formed.
“We have discovered that when two large galaxies collide, a new disk can form around the older galaxy, thanks to massive outflows of star-forming gases. Our simulations show that the new and old stellar disk grew together slowly over several billion years,” says Florent Renaud, He is also a researcher in astronomy at Lund University.
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