Examining the center of our Milky Way galaxy, astronomers suddenly discovered a rather strange object. It strongly resembles a tiny spiral galaxy that gracefully revolves around one large star.
The star, located about 26,000 light-years from Earth, near a dense and dusty galactic center, is about 32 times more massive than the Sun and is located inside a huge disk of swirling gas known as the “protostar” (the disk itself has a width of about 4,000 astronomical units – or 4000 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun).
Such disks are widespread in the universe and serve as a fuel that helps young stars turn into big bright suns for millions of years. But astronomers have never seen such a thing before.
Using high-precision observations from ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/Submmillimeter Array) in Chile, the researchers found that the spiral shape of the disk is not the result of its movement. Rather, this form is due to a collision with another cosmic body. To test this hypothesis, mathematical modeling of the orbits of a mysterious object was performed. As a result, they found that if an object (the same huge star) followed a certain path, it could have slipped past the disk about 12,000 years ago, confusing the dust just enough to form the bright spiral shape we see today.