Milky Way Is Being Twisted and Deformed With Extreme Violence by the Gravitational Force of the LMC’s Dark Matter Halo

Milky Way Spiral Galaxy Illustration

The long-held belief that the Milky Way, the galaxy containing Earth and the solar system, is relatively static has been ruptured by fresh cosmic insight.

The spiral-shaped disc of stars and planets is being pulled, twisted and deformed with extreme violence by the gravitational force of a smaller galaxy – the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC).

Scientists believe the LMC crossed the Milky Way’s boundary around 700 million years ago – recent by cosmological standards – and due to its large dark matter content it strongly upset our galaxy’s fabric and motion as it fell in.

The effects are still being witnessed today and should force a revision of how our galaxy evolved, astronomers say.

The LMC, now a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, is visible as a faint cloud in the southern hemisphere’s night skies – as observed by its namesake, the 16th century Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

Previous research has revealed that the LMC, like the Milky Way, is surrounded by a halo of dark matter – elusive particles that surround galaxies and do not absorb or emit light but have dramatic gravitational effects on the movement of stars and gas in the universe.

Using a sophisticated statistical model that calculated the speed of the Milky Way’s most distant stars, the University of Edinburgh team discovered how the LMC warped our galaxy’s motion. The study, published in Nature Astronomy, was funded by UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

Magellanic Clouds

Magellanic clouds over Bromo Semeru Tengger National Park, Java, Indonesia. Credit: Gilbert Vancell-

The researchers found that the enormous attraction of the LMC’s dark matter halo is pulling and twisting the Milky Way disc at 32 km/s or 115,200 kilometers per hour towards the constellation Pegasus.

To their surprise, they also found that the Milky Way was not moving towards the LMC’s current location, as previously thought, but towards a point in its past trajectory.

They believe this is because the LMC, powered by its massive gravitational force, is moving away from the Milky Way at the even faster speed of 370 km/s, around 1.3 million kilometers per hour.

Astronomers say it is as if the Milky Way is trying hard to hit a fast moving target, but not aiming very well.

This discovery will help scientists develop new modeling techniques that capture the strong dynamic interplay between the two galaxies.

Astronomers now intend to find out the direction from which the LMC first fell into the Milky Way and the exact time it happened. This will reveal the amount and distribution of dark matter in the Milky Way and the LMC with unprecedented detail.

Dr. Michael Petersen, lead author and Postdoctoral Research Associate, School of Physics and Astronomy, said:

“Our findings beg for a new generation of Milky Way models, to describe the evolution of our galaxy.

“We were able to show that stars at incredibly large distances, up to 300,000 light-years away, retain a memory of the Milky Way structure before the LMC fell in, and form a backdrop against which we measured the stellar disc flying through space, pulled by the gravitational force of the LMC.”

Professor Jorge Peñarrubia, Personal Chair of Gravitational Dynamics, School of Physics and Astronomy, said:

“This discovery definitely breaks the spell that our galaxy is in some sort of equilibrium state. Actually, the recent infall of the LMC is causing violent perturbations onto the Milky Way.

“Understanding these may give us an unparalleled view on the distribution of dark matter in both galaxies.”

Reference: “Detection of the Milky Way reflex motion due to the Large Magellanic Cloud infall” by Michael S. Petersen and Jorge Peñarrubia, 23 November 2020, Nature Astronomy.
DOI: 10.1038/s41550-020-01254-3

39 Comments on "Milky Way Is Being Twisted and Deformed With Extreme Violence by the Gravitational Force of the LMC’s Dark Matter Halo"

  1. Hettie J Bennett | November 28, 2020 at 5:31 pm | Reply

    I do not think our ceiling fans our helping I can turn mine on if clouds our rain is northwest or in some cases southwest or west of me and if it is going the WAY it should we will get rain eventually I have a fire place that sets on the front left side of my house and if the shute is open and ceiling fan on the right way it will rain or draw it this way for sure.

  2. Mike Holdcroft | November 28, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Reply

    Obviously, Hettie.

  3. Same in TN. besides ceiling fan on right only works on high and it’s getting too hot in here. What to do????

  4. Justin Devenpeck | November 28, 2020 at 9:04 pm | Reply

    Material combinations are needed

    • Justin Devenpeck | November 28, 2020 at 9:05 pm | Reply

      Communications with the black hole ship are also needed for status conformance

    • Justin Devenpeck | November 28, 2020 at 9:08 pm | Reply

      Material combinations for life and material systems need to be stabilized, organized and supported. Ships need maintained. Battling needs to stop and be prevented and supplied education and redirection

  5. Still waiting for one scintilla of evidence for the existence of dark matter.

    • Unless you were just joking… dark matter is the name we have given to material that doesn’t reflect light but we are pretty sure exists because of unexplained interactions.
      We are all waiting for “proof” it exists.
      Dark matter basically means “we don’t know”

    • Torbjörn Larsson | November 29, 2020 at 8:19 am | Reply

      ? No scientist has been waiting for that – the first evidence is about a century old [“Dark matter” @ Wikipedia]. “The first to suggest the existence of dark matter using stellar velocities was Dutch astronomer Jacobus Kapteyn in 1922.”

      There is today many and independent way to observe dark matter. But perhaps the simplest method, which anyone can use, is to observe it in the cosmic background spectra [“The Genome of the Universe” @ Galileo’s Pendulum; “Secrets of the Cosmic Microwave Background” @ PBS Space Time youtube].

      Personally I am still waiting for a scintilla of evidence that the culturally fashionable but erroneous claim that we as society is waiting for evidence on century old observations like dark matter will die out. It is scientifically illiterate.

  6. What the heck are you people on? The quantum singularity in each galaxy is having a gravitational effect on stars and planets in our galaxy, therefore distorting the shape we have studied for decades, this discovery means we have to redesign all current models of our galaxy in order to study it in full detail. Geez, is there anyone who can spell these days, also what’s with the ceiling fans comment? lolwtf.

  7. Sonny Trancheeta | November 28, 2020 at 11:28 pm | Reply

    What is The Relevance of This We Can Do Nothing About it At All…. Let’s Just Waste Money On Something That’s Inconsequential and Let People Starve To Death and Live Homeless So Some Morons Still Have a Job About Something That No One Cares About and Wouldn’t Effect us For Thousands of Generation’s… Defund This Usless Crap Now We Have Better Was To Waste Money Than on This Crap….Reallly

    • Torbjörn Larsson | November 29, 2020 at 8:23 am | Reply

      Since then has science been “a waste”? Nations compete in investing as much as possible in it, since it gives so much back – vaccines, web [from CERN similar studies], et cetera. This comment too was science illiterate.

      As for the rest: conspiracy ideation much?!

      • Nicholas Jones | November 29, 2020 at 2:42 pm | Reply

        Scientific curiosity aside, the real motive behind these kinds of studies is an ego masturbatory exercise of a class of people wealthy enough or gifted enough to not have to be burdened with having to be immediately productive. Status-seeking and self-validation is the primary motivation. Masturbation, like drug addictions, is often a desire for an escape from reality. This motivation, with us since the birth of the age of reason, was the motivation of Marry Shelley’s Dr. Frankinstein.

  8. Sonny Trancheeta | November 28, 2020 at 11:34 pm | Reply

    Everything They Talk About is Theory Nothing Can Be Proven
    The Only Thing That Can Be Extrapolated is The Wate Of Money We Spend On This Totally Usless S*** That’s Irrelevant

    • Torbjörn Larsson | November 29, 2020 at 8:26 am | Reply

      Whenever someone erroneously claim “nothing can be proven” [you mean tested, science is not math] I ask if they doubt the existence of gravity to the amount that they leave high rises by 5th floor windows [lethal fall height]. That usually stops their bufoonery.

  9. What is The Relevance of This We Can Do Nothing About it At All…. Let’s Just Waste Money On Something That’s Inconsequential and Let People Starve To Death and Live Homeless So Some Morons Still Have a Job About Something That No One Cares About and Wouldn’t Effect us For Thousands of Generation’s… Defund This Usless Crap Now We Have Better Was To Waste Money Than on This Crap….Reallly
    By The Time Something Does Happen We Couldn’t Stop It Besides When It Does Man Will Be As Extinct As The Dinosaurs
    The Earth Will Probably Shake Us Off Like a Bad Case Of Flea’s By That Time Where The Only Species That Has the Gaul To Think We Will Out Live Anything in The Universe
    Again We Have No F***in’ Clue About Anything That Goes On Out There Or In Our Own Oceans We Know Nothing The Shoulda, Coulda’s & Woulda’s is All We Can Theorize About in Other Words We Have No Clue Period

  10. Would you rather be or a wasp

  11. Humans invented money sonny, if you dont feel the natural drive to further explore our reality why haven’t you killed yourself yet? Whats the point of doing anything since you don’t really know anything you do is the correct thing to do?

    Also i would argue that learning more about space benefits us immensely even if we can’t go there. Most hightech materials your winter jacket uses were invented for space.

    Also are you going to tell me a society that can just give trillions of dollars to banks to bail them out has an issue with generating money? Again a thing we invented.

  12. Mike, it’s Jeez, not Geez.

    Sonny T, I can understand Mike’s concern. Aside from all your unnecessary capitalization, you were looking for “affect”, and your fleas are plural, not possessive.

  13. The news came in interesting, but the fact that they described Dark Matter as, elusive particles is extremely misleading to those who don’t understand what Dark Matter problem is. Nobody knows what it is more than a place-holder misleading name that made it presume is matter Ergo particles and there is not a single evidence that is true or can it be even true since interaction is not even made by itself.

    • Torbjörn Larsson | November 29, 2020 at 8:39 am | Reply

      If you claim “extremely misleading”, try not to be such your self. Our current cosmology of inflationary hot big bang [“The Big Bang is Probably Not What You Think It Is” @ Domain Of Science youtube] is modeled as Lambda-Cold Dark Matter [“Lambda-CDM model” @Wikipedia] for a reason: observed dark matter has been best explained by heavy, gravitationally particles since 2016 [“The Labor of Outflows against Dark Matter Halo” @ astrobites].

      And please don’t confuse math equation placeholders with observed physical quantities [“Variable (mathematics)” @ Wikipedia]. “In mathematics, a variable is a symbol which functions as a placeholder for varying expression or quantities, and is often used to represent an arbitrary element of a set.” Versus “Combining this data in different ways gives us the amount of dark matter (peaks 2 and 3) and dark energy (peaks 1 and 3).” [“The Genome of the Universe” @ Galileo’s Pendulum; note that the peak subtractions that suggest is a simplified model, “Secrets of the Cosmic Microwave Background” @ PBS Space Time youtube describes the full data extraction].

  14. Mike Mayo seems to know what’s going on. We live in a plasma universe. Dark matter is BS. The universe can be molded/explained without dark matter by introducing plasma physics. I’ve known this since i was a teenager! It really is time to update the models! There is a change coming, and it cant be escaped. All you old thinkers need to die off and let us take control. They just don’t want to feel like their life has been a wast searching for something that’s not real and will do or say anything to protect it! The answers are in front of you guys.

  15. Michael maynard | November 29, 2020 at 7:17 am | Reply

    Oh and now you guys are just figuring this out? Thats nothing but a 10 pond bag of bs, “being 700 million years old” if youre just finding out that the small galaxy thats been doing what its doing now and havent seen do so a long time ago with even previous tech then i say your A game is really off.

    Like the whole “solar syatem is 2,000 light years closer to the blackhole than we previously thought” either its bs youre makimg up or your cavulations of time progression is waaay off

    • Torbjörn Larsson | November 29, 2020 at 8:44 am | Reply

      I assume you mean by “you guys” the hard working experts that peer review publish their data and are seen to ever improve their game – the article describes an example – against you having nothing relevant to say? You don’t grok science, and produce another example of a science illiterate comment.

  16. Poor people have a say too.what I would like very much to know is why roads are turning into raging rivers and mountains landslides are plenty. What’s causing this or is this another well kept secret. And when you are finished with this, please refrain from mining the ocean that we are just beginning to understand, and that goes for the Moon,Mars and the golden asteroid Elon Musk seems to have the hots for. As none of us truly understand anything and everything.this goes out to so called educated donkeys ruining the world and now the universe for us so called illeterates yet you need our taxes.

  17. My fall-back understanding when drowning in quantum is Milton-DeGrazie theory, W Thornhill, and my personal adaptation to too much no-see-um, a strong interest in what once was the Magellanic Galaxy, presumed to have met its demise over 600 million years ago , proving even galactic centers centers can become unstable electrically, leaving massive magnetic fields at the edges of the torn apart stellar clouds to baffle scientists.

  18. This place proves you can’t fix stupid.

  19. What’s gonna happen man

  20. I’ve seen things

  21. The rant against science here is basically, “since we don’t know everything, we shouldn’t study anything.” It’s a self destroying argument, because the only way to learn anything is to study.
    There’s the related argument, “since we can’t know everything, we shouldn’t study anything.” Which is equally obvious nonsense, because it isn’t known that we can’t know everything eventually. Really. (In our lifetime, surely not. In a several generations, still not likely. But eventually? Sonny T has no sound basis to know this, nor to use it as an argument against study.)

    What we do know, is that space study & exploration have led to many marvels of medicine we have today, which are keeping billions of poor people in better health than any previous time in history.

    Likewise with the marvels of telecommunications, which are allowing so many individuals & businesses to remain productive & employed than in previous pandemics.

    Furthermore with the entertainment industry, which is helping many cope with the isolation & cabin fever of the current pandemic situation.

    Space and many other scientific and theoretical studies do expand our actual knowledge, and our ability to apply it in ways that help all, both in our own society and outside.

    It seems the actual rant is against Lean Economic Policies, funneling the limited prosperity we do have going on, to already wealthy corporations, which are syphoning it out of our economy, & into the pockets of the richest few.

    Sonny T can do something about this. It’s called “get involved.” Influence your politics locally & nationally to fight “excessive” concentration & hoarding of wealth to just a few. (Some concentration of wealth is necessary to enable societies to pursue ideals.)

    Let science continue to enrich the lives of all humans & many other life forms.

    Your real complaint Sonny T is with economic administration, not the pursuit of knowledge.

  22. SciTechDailySucks | November 29, 2020 at 10:04 pm | Reply

    LOL CLICKBAIT “Milky Way Is Being Twisted and Deformed With Extr.. (*👽?? click on link)..with EXTREME VIOLENCE by..(*🙄ME and Every Viewer…*THEN🖕🏼ME Blocking further “News” links from ‘SciTechDaily’ and reporting it as SPAM to Google Servers).

  23. I think we have only begun to see what is out there. I don’t matter where you are on earth, Ever living being. Fish an animals they never collide. Every thing is insinct except humans. Hhhhmmm why?

  24. Wow, static people living in a dynamic universe….

  25. Boy, ya’all really do live in a different universe. The universe that I live in, is full of people that purely work for the sake of exploitation of everything, by those who are able to talk a good line of BS to the masses. No matter if it’s right or wrong, real or illusion, just so that it’s convincing to those who are also part of the exploiting club whom are able to to make a deal of any kind to exploit what they make popular at the moment or has worked over and over again. Driven by gluttony and greed, with no never mind of what the damage it has created to whatever has been exploited.


    I guess that pretty much $um$ it up.

  26. … This dark matter is just makes physics a pseudoscience, and to add some dark energy, too.
    Sorry guys, it is interesting to read and learn about physics, but somehow, it is obvious that is not correct and that some stuff need to be changed. Thank the God, that I was not a physics student at any time…
    … well, if science explains only from 4.6% to 10% of the world is pseudoscience, and even that small portion is divided into two groups: quantum world and Albert’s world…

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