5 juin 2017

Un pont magnétique entre les galaxies

Extrait de la fascinante nouvelle:

For the first time, scientists have detected evidence of a magnetic field that's associated with the vast intergalactic 'bridge' that links our two nearest galactic neighbours.

Known as the Magellanic Bridge, the bridge is a huge stream of neutral gas that stretches some 75,000 light-years between our two neighbouring galaxies, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (LMC and SMC). Although researchers had predicted it was there, this is the first observation of its magnetic field, and it could help us understand how these vast bridges come to be.

(...) Researchers have long known about the Magellanic Bridge that exists between these neighbours, a path with a few known stars inside it. But until now, very little was known about the magnetic field associated with the bridge.

The team has now shown that this newly detected magnetic field is one millionth the strength of Earth's own protective magnetic shield - and it could provide some insight into how it formed.

Two of the leading options are that the magnetic field was generated from within the bridge after the structure formed, or it may have been 'ripped' from the dwarf galaxies thought to have merged and formed the bridge in the first place.

(...) "The LMC and SMC are our nearest neighbours, so understanding how they evolve may help us understand how our Milky Way Galaxy will evolve. Understanding the role that magnetic fields play in the evolution of galaxies and their environment is a fundamental question in astronomy that remains to be answered."

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