Astronomers discover “Maggie”, the largest object ever seen in our galaxy (PHOTO)

In the image, a side view of the Milky Way, obtained by ESA’s Gaia satellite. Inset shows Maggie’s location – ESA / Gaia / DPAC, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO & T. Müller / J. Syed / MPIA

A team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg has just released the discovery of the largest object ever observed in the Milky Way: a stylized cloud of gas 3,900 light years long and about 150 light years wide. . The gigantic structure is located about 55,000 light years from us, and is five times the size of the largest gas clouds known to date, none larger than 800 light years. Scientists have named the object ‘Maggie’ in reference to the Magdalena River, the longest in Colombia. The finding has been published in ‘Astronomy & Astrophysics’. This is how he reviewed it ABC.

Astronomers located the gas filament while searching for objects located outside the galaxy’s main plane, the flattened disk that contains most of the Milky Way’s material.

Being out of that plane and due to its dimensions, Maggie was relatively easy to detect.

“We still don’t know exactly how it got there,” explains Jonas Syed, first author of the paper. But the filament extends some 1,600 light years below the plane of the Milky Way. ” Thanks to its relative isolation, the team were able to calculate how the gas moves inside the cloud, and they found that it does everything at the same speed and in the same direction, confirming that it is a unique structure and not of several clouds side by side.

“Maggie was already recognizable in previous evaluations of the data,” explains Juan Soler, who was the astronomer who first detected Maggie. But only the current study proves beyond any doubt that it is a coherent structure ”.

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