An astronomer from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, in collaboration with an international team of researchers, have discovered that a neighboring galaxy -- the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) -- appears to have formed with an old stellar halo, similar to how our very own Milky Way formed.
The oldest and most metal-poor Milky Way stars form a spherical halo where they move about like atoms in a hot gas, which in turn prompts two major formation scenarios of our galaxy: extended hierarchical accretion and rapid collapse. RR Lyrae stars, which are found both in the Milky Way and the LMC, are excellent tracers of old and metal-poor populations.
By measuring the movement of 43 RR Lyrae stars in the inner regions of the LMC, the team determined that a moving hot, metal-poor, old halo also exists in the LMC, suggesting that the Milky Way and smaller, more irregular galaxies like the LMC have similar early formation histories.
Anne Stark | EurekAlert!
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