The universe is carved by stars, yet their formation is still a mystery to scientists. Scientists looked to the Small Magellanic Cloud, a Milky Way satellite galaxy, to learn more about the frenzied “baby boom” of star creation that took place in the early history of the universe. This close galaxy resembles galaxies discovered in the earlier cosmos, when heavy elements were less prevalent, since it has a simpler chemical makeup than the Milky Way. It can therefore act as a stand-in for the early universe.
The identical result was recently reached by two different research studies, the first using the Hubble Space Telescope and the second using the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory. The separate teams used various methods to find young stars spiralling into the nucleus of the giant star cluster NGC 346 in the Small Magellanic Cloud. According to astrophysicists, this river-like motion of gas and stars is a powerful mechanism to support star formation. The teams’ findings show that the Small Magellanic Cloud’s star production mechanism is comparable to the Milky Way’s.
Spiraling stars are discovered by NASA’s Hubble, opening a window into the early universe.
Nature is full with spirals, from the maelstrom of a cyclone to the immense expanses of spiral galaxies throughout our cosmos to the pinwheel-shaped protoplanetary discs around young stars.
The Small Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, has a large cluster of young stars that are spiralling into its core. This discovery has left astronomers perplexed.
This huge, oddly structured stellar nursery known as NGC 346 may be fuelling star production by a circulation of gas and stars akin to a river. According to scientists, this method of star birth fuel is effective.
Compared to the Milky Way, the Small Magellanic Cloud has a less complex chemical makeup. It resembles galaxies that were discovered in the early cosmos, when heavier metals were more common. The stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud burn hotter as a result, and as a result, they exhaust their fuel more quickly than those in our Milky Way.
The Small Magellanic Cloud, at only 200,000 light-years away, is one of our nearest galactic neighbours and can be used as a proxy for the early cosmos.