A strange spiral object spotted in the center of the Milky Way

(ORDO NEWS) — A team from the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory using the ALMA telescope was able to look into the center of the Milky Way. The result was a strange spiral object that looks like a miniature galaxy but could be a single star.

The mysterious object, resembling a tiny spiral galaxy, is located about 26,000 light-years from Earth, Live Science reports. It is located near the dense dust center of our galaxy. According to researchers, the object is almost 32 times more massive than the Sun.

It is located inside a huge spiraling disk of gas known as the “protostellar disk”. The width of this disk is estimated at about 4,000 astronomical units, that is, it is 4,000 times the average distance between the Earth and the Sun.

The object was discovered using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array Telescope located in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

High sensitivity devices helped to find it. At first, astronomers did not see anything special, because protostellar disks are widespread in the universe. They are a kind of fuel that young stars use for their growth for many millions of years.

However, further observations showed that the discovery is unique: astronomers have never seen such an object orbiting dangerously close to the center of our galaxy. The team ran simulations and calculated more than a dozen potential orbits for the mysterious object.

One scenario showed that around 12,000 years ago, an object following one specific path could have slipped past the disk. It stirred up the cosmic dust just enough to form the bright spiral shape seen today.

As a result, astronomers have come to the conclusion that the spiral arms in the disk near the center of the Milky Way are traces of the passage of an intruding object, such as a single star. This means that the center of our galaxy may be “overloaded” with such miniature spirals, just waiting to be discovered.

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