Most Detailed Radio Image of Nearby Dwarf Galaxy: Small Magellanic Cloud

It indicates a very dynamic past for the Small Magellanic Cloud.

Most Detailed Radio Image of Nearby Dwarf Galaxy: Small Magellanic Cloud
An optical image of part of the Small Magellanic Cloud. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScl/ Aura)

Astronomers at ANU have recently captured the radio image of the nearby dwarf galaxy, the Small Magellanic Cloud.

According to them, this could help them know about its formation and how it will like to evolve.

Most Detailed Radio Image of Nearby Dwarf Galaxy: Small Magellanic Cloud
Atomic hydrogen gas in the Small Magellanic Cloud as imaged with CSIRO’s Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP)
Image Credit: CSIRO and ANU

This Small Magellanic Cloud is a small part of the size and mass of the Milky Way, is one of our closest galactic neighbors and visible to the bare eye in the southern sky.

Co-lead researcher Professor Naomi McClure-Griffiths said, “the complex structure of the dwarf galaxy likely resulted, in part, from interactions with its companion, the Large Magellanic Cloud, and the Milky Way.”

Scientists captured the image with the help of CSIRO’s powerful new radio telescope, the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), and its innovative radio camera technology, known as phased array feeds. The image was captured as a part of the study that aims to study the evolution of galaxies.

It reveals more gas around the edges of the galaxy. This indicates a very dynamic past for the Small Magellanic Cloud.

Professor McClure-Griffiths said, “contortions to the Small Magellanic Cloud happened due to its communications with the larger galaxies and in light of its own star blasts that drive gas out of the system.”

“The outlook for this dwarf galaxy is not good, as it’s likely to eventually be gobbled up by our Milky Way.”

Professor McClure-Griffiths said, “The new radio image finally reaches the same level of detail as those infrared images, but on a very different component of the galaxy’s make-up: its hydrogen gas.”

“Hydrogen is the fundamental building block of all galaxies and shows off the more extended structure of a galaxy than its stars and dust.”