According to data from space observatory Gaia, the closest star cluster to Earth, Hyades is being shattered by the phenomenal gravity of an unseen massive object. Gaia is operated by the European Space Agency (ESA).
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Astronomer Tereza Jerabkova and her colleagues from ESA and European Southern Observatory pored over information contained in Gaia Data release (DR 2.5 and DR3).
The space observatory Gaia, maps the Milky Way galaxy in 3 dimensions with a view to highlight the velocity data and position of stars.
When detailed analysis of raw data was done by the researchers they noticed something odd about the star cluster Hyades.
This star cluster is located 153 light years away in the Taurus constellations. The cluster measures approx 60 light years across while the tidal tail stretches out over thousands of light years.
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The team of researchers found some weird findings in the data and they expanded search parameters. It was done to find new stars and catch previously overlooked stars.
Dense ‘star clusters’ rip apart over time naturally and it occurs due to gravitational forces, both internally and gravity applied by the galaxy around the cluster. This gravitational force can transform the cluster into a tidal steam.
The team ran a process to explain the stellar distribution within the fail, they actually noticed more stars than are visible or seen to instruments of mankind. It explained some had gone missing. Researchers ran the process again and again to find out the cause of stars to go AWOL.
The perfect theory they came up with was that a close encounter with an object (measuring 10 million times the sun’s mass) might explain the strange scattering of stars. They also think that it might be a close encounter with a large accumulation of dark matter.
“There must have been a close interaction with this really massive clump, and the Hyades just got smashed,” Jerabkova said.
Dark Matter is a supposition and we cannot detect it directly. We can just conclude its position or existence by making observations about its influence on the universe around the Dark Matter.
Accumulation of Dark Matter is suspected of being the cause behind formation of galaxies and astronomers predict that the Dark Matter clumps might be responsible for odd ripping apart of Hyades.
“With Gaia, the way we see the Milky Way has completely changed,” Jerabkova said. “And with these discoveries, we will be able to map the Milky Way’s sub-structures much better than ever before.”