Each one of us may be made in part from extragalactic matter, claims a new study.
Up to half the matter in our Milky Way may come from distant galaxies up to one million light years away, making us ‘extragalactic immigrants’, according to astrophysicists from Northwestern University.
The research, published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, could completely transform our understanding of how galaxies formed after the Big Bang.
The team from Northwestern used the equivalent of several million hours of continuous supercomputing to uncover a new process that explains how galaxies acquired their matter. They call this process ‘intergalactic transfer’.
This involves supernova explosions ejecting large amounts of gas from galaxies, causing atoms to be transported from one galaxy to another by powerful galactic winds.
This illustration shows a pair of nearby galaxies where ‘intergalactic transfer’ may
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