For almost 50 years, the Magellanic Current or Magellanic Current has remained a mystery to scientists, who cannot determine how far away this flow of neutral hydrogen is that, according to the most accepted theory, would have been formed by gravitational interaction. of the Milky Way – our galaxy – and the Magellanic Clouds, two dwarf galaxies near our home.
However, a study published by scientists at the University of Wisconsin in The Astrophysical Journal Letters points out that the Magellanic Current is at a shorter distance than previously thought, about 65,000 light-years from Earth.
The result of the experts from the University of Wisconsin calls into question a study just published in 2020, which indicated that the Magellanic Current is located at a distance of between 325,000 and 650,000 light years from Earth.
Scott Lucchini, one of the authors of the study that places the Magellanic Current at a closer distance, explains that the key to his finding was to formulate precise prediction models that contemplated the existence of a corona of hot gas surrounding the current.
Under this approach, experts from the University of Wisconsin determined that Magellanic clouds have orbited each other for about 3 billion years and in the opposite direction to what was previously thought. In this way, the current has moved closer to our galaxy instead of away.
“Adding the crown to the problem changed the orbital history of the clouds,” Lucchini explained in a note posted by Europa Press.
After their discovery, the scientists point out that the gas that makes up the Magellanic Current is likely to impact our galaxy relatively soon, in astronomical terms, giving rise to new stars. This phenomenon, scientists point out, would occur in about 50 million years.