Harvard's latest discovery shows that our Milky Way galaxy is throwing balls into the Andromeda galaxy and the other way around.
In its center galaxy our 26.000 light years away from Earth, lives an oversized black hole called Sagittarius A *. Its mass, equivalent to about four million suns, extends to eight million miles, less than the distance between Mercury and the Sun. Needless to say, it is a rather strange place, so it should come as no surprise that it exhibits strange behavior.
The black hole Sagittarius A * does nothing but chew on stars and spit on their remains, in the form of planet-sized gas spheres, which travel at incredible speeds. But new research presented this week at the American Astronomical Society 2017 conference shows that the black hole of our Galaxy is probably playing the game of "cosmic spitball".
According to the head of the survey Eden Girma, a graduate student at Harvard University and his member Banneker from the Aztlán Institute, each 10.000 year or so about an unlucky star cluster very close to the black hole Sagittarius A, falls into her deadly tidal embrace.
During 50 simulations of these interactions, Girma and James Guillochon's mentor, Harvard astrophysicist, noticed that pieces of the stars can coagulate like gas balls ranging in size from the size of the planet Neptune up to multiple times greater than Zeus. The extreme black hole environment catches these balls in space at 20 speeds of millions of miles per hour, so they can quickly escape completely from the galaxy.
Their experiments showed that a percentage of 95 percent of these objects and at that speed fly to the intergalactic space and perhaps reach adjacent galaxies such as Andromeda. Similarly, Guillochon said that Andromeda's galaxy, which also has an oversized black hole, can launch similar star shots back to our Milky Way.
The rest of the objects that fail to get out of the galaxy are either locked in orbit around Sagittarius A or migrate to the outer regions of our Galaxy. Some may be only a few hundred light years from Earth.
At present, nobody has really visually observed any of these objects, but next-generation observatories such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and James Webb Space Telescope can detect them. Until then, you are content with the fact that these two galaxies fly planets to each other like little children.