A study conducted by West Virginia University researchers found hydrogen gas clouds between Andromeda and Triangulum, Milky Way's neighboring galaxies.
The two galaxies are known to contain a super large number of stars. Now, a new study by West Virginia University researchers has discovered the existence of hydrogen gas clouds between the two galaxies, which could act as fuel for the formation of more stars.
Spencer Wolfe, a graduate student in the WVU Department of Physics was the lead author of the study. He and assistant physics professor Daniel (D.J.) Pisano worked in collaboration with researchers from Case Western Reserve University, the University of Maryland and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.
Previous studies on the Local Group (a collection of galaxies) have found evidence of a possible existence of diffused hydrogen gas between members of the Local group, including the Milky Way. However, no detailed view of the same had ever been attained until this new discovery.
"The question we're trying to answer is in what way is the Local Group and its members evolving," Wolfe said in a statement. "A lot of people tend to forget that when they see pictures of the Milky Way that we're embedded in it. If it's evolving, we're going to evolve with it so understanding the details of how galaxies like the Milky Way can acquire new gas and keep forming stars is important."
Observations of the new discovery show portions of these clouds clustered together, resembling dwarf galaxies.
"The study would not be possible without the unique capabilities of the Green Bank Telescope," Pisano said. "Its combination of sensitivity, resolution and its unique optical design were all critical for this study. There are no other telescopes currently operating or planned that will be as capable of doing this type of work as the GBT."
Researchers of this study claim that this discovery represents a previously sighted unrecognizable source of hydrogen gas that could be instrumental in the formation of new stars.