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A Massive Magnetic Bridge Between Two Galaxies Observed For The First Time

First Posted: May 18, 2017 04:50 AM EDT
Physicists Have Observed a Giant Magnetic 'Bridge' Between Galaxies For First Time
A giant magnetic bridge links two neighboring galaxies detected for the first time.
(Photo : Technology Guru?YouTube screenshot)

Scientists detected for the first time a giant magnetic bridge known as "Magellanic Bridge" between two neighboring galaxies. This bridge is associated with the presence of magnetic field or magnetism.

The findings of the observation were printed in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The research could help in mapping the whole magnetism of the universe.

The Magellanic Bridge (MBR) is a massive stream of neutral hydrogen that links the two neighboring galaxies, namely the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (LMC and SMC). The bridge has a continuous stream of stars that links the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) with the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC). The scientists have speculated that the bridge was there. On the other hand, this is the first observation of its magnetism.

Jane Kaczmarek from the University of Sydney and the lead author of the study said that there were hints that this magnetic field might exist. On the other hand, no one had observed it until now.

She further said that the LMC and SMC are the nearest neighbors of the planet Earth. With this, the understanding of how they evolve might help the scientists understand how the Milky Way galaxy evolve. She explained that understanding the role of magnetic fields in the evolution of galaxies and their environment is a basic question in astronomy that remains to be answered.

The LMC and SMC are 160,000 and 200,000 light-years away from the planet Earth, respectively. They could be seen in the southern night sky.

Meanwhile, the newly identified magnetic field is one-millionth the strength of Earth's own protective magnetic field. This could deliver information on how it developed. There are two options in the formation of a magnetic field. First, it could be generated from within the bridge after the structure formed. Second, it may have been ripped from the dwarf galaxies that are thought to have merged and developed the bridge. With the detection of this magnetic field, scientists could now determine how it formed and the impact it had on the LMC and SMC, according to Science Alert.

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