It’s a discovery that questions the history of our galaxy. While scientists believed that the majority of the dwarf galaxies around the Milky Way had been their satellites for billions of years, a new study published in the Astrophysical Journal shows that it has not.
To arrive at this conclusion, an international team of astronomers, led by Frenchman François Hammer of the Paris Observatory, drew on the latest data released by the European Gaia space mission in December 2020. This mission, called Astrometry, is based on a satellite that measures the distance between the stars very precisely in order to create a real 3D map of our galaxy.
In practice, the researchers examined the movements of 40 dwarf galaxies in the vicinity of the Milky Way. In doing so, they discovered that they were moving much faster than previously thought and much faster than the giant stars and star clusters that are known to orbit our galaxy.
It is impossible that they have long been anywhere near the Milky Way. If this were the case, their interactions with the latter would have already undermined their beautiful energies: they would therefore be much less restless … Gaia’s observations, on the contrary, suggest that these little neighbors have evolved there for a billion or two at the most, and that “Our galaxy has not or at least not yet orbited them.
No more dark matter needed!
But that doesn’t just change the history of our galactic neighborhood! It also changes what we thought we knew about these dwarf galaxies. Having withstood the onslaught of our Milky Way for so long, astrophysicists imagined they were crammed with dark matter, a substance unknown but necessary to give them enough gravity to keep them cohesive. If they are newbies, there is no need to add dark matter to their composition. So it is not just the story but all of the models that we need to review in the face of this reveal!
Weather to be gray for the North of France and sun for the South
No surprise, this Monday, December 13: according to Météo-France, the weather will be gray in the north of the country, while the sun should dominate in the southern half. The greyness will therefore persist throughout the day in the North, with the exception of a few clearings in the North-West which are quickly competed with by large fog banks. From the afternoon, precipitation should also appear in Brittany.
The southern half of the country will be luckier. With the exception of the Garonne Valley, where the greyness may persist throughout the day, the clouds should quickly be chased away by the sun almost everywhere. Note that the Landes (40) and the Pyrénées-Atlantiques (64) will remain on orange alert for the significant flooding of the Adour.
Minimum temperatures will range from -2 to 3 degrees in general from the Grand Est to Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, from 2 to 5 in the South and from 5 to 9 in the North and North-West. The maximums will vary between 5 and 9 degrees in the East, 10 and 13 from La Manche to the Massif Central, and from 12 to 16 from the southwest to the Mediterranean, up to 17 in Corsica.
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