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18 Feb 17

Scientists have been waiting eagerly for the past 15 years to get information from Gaia. Gaia is European Space Agency’s space observatory. Its angular resolution is like that of the Hubble Space Telescope, but it offers a wider view which covers the entire sky.

Further, it has the largest number of pixels, and two telescopes which share a one meter wide focal plane. Gaia is also special as it continuously spins around its axis, rather than just pointing and staring.

The data that Gaia has sent about the Magellanic Clouds is unique. The Magellanic Clouds are two dwarf satellite galaxies orbiting the Milky Way. As per the data, these galaxies seem to be linked by a bridge which stretches across 43,000 light years. They have named this bridge RR Lyrae bridge.

"We were surprised to see a narrow bridge-like structure connecting the two clouds. We believe that at least in part this 'bridge' is composed of stars stripped from the Small Cloud by the Large. The rest may actually be the LMC stars pulled from it by the Milky Way” said Dr Belokurov.

This discovery is published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Content: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170207221831.htm

Image: http://www.sci-news.com/astronomy/science-gaia14aae-binary-star-system-03032.html

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