Our home galaxy, the Milky Way, has long since been used by scientists and researchers as a base for their efforts to understand other newly discovered galaxies and solar systems. However, members of the Satellites Around Galactic Analogs Survey (SAGA) have already made some startling discoveries, that might change our perception of our mother galaxy. Still, they have a lot of work left as the team has studied just eight neighboring galaxies similar to our own.
The Milky Way Is Not As Typical As Thought
Researchers and astronomers commonly use our galaxy as an example to help them understand how other spiral galaxies form and survive across their lifespan. However, after studying just eight of some tens of neighboring galaxies, the team of scientists at SAGA advanced a daring idea. One that could turn the world of astronomy on its head.
Galaxies surrounding the Milky Way have been discovered to be mostly inert and stable. Their counterparts in areas of space discovered to be of a similar size are now known to be producing stars at a fast rate.
The team at SAGA is headed by Yale University’s Marla Geha. She stated that “Hundreds of studies come out every year about dark matter, cosmology, star formation, and galaxy formation, using the Milky Way as a guide. But it’s possible that the Milky Way is an outlier”.
Geha continues by pointing that the fact that the Milky Way’s smaller galaxies are somewhat “inert” is a major factor to take into account when considering past and present scientific papers.
These were and are based on the idea that the Milky Way is a standard spiral armed galaxy, but this might not be so. If proven right, all the research regarding the dark matter and other fields of scientific study might have to be re-evaluated.
As it is, the current study, which is already shaking things up, is still in its early phases and these are just preliminary results. Further research is needed to ensure these early findings, making up less than ten percent of the entire SAGA study, are complete. They also have to be understood in their full form as the workings of an outlier spiral galaxy are examined for the future.
These early results will be published in a paper in the Astrophysical Journal.
Image Source: NASA