Something invisible is tearing apart the nearest star cluster to Earth

Strange things are far ahead in the galaxy.

According to a new analysis of Gaia satellite data, the closest star cluster to our solar system is currently torn apart – not only by normal processes, but also by gravitational bridges that we cannot see.

Astronomers say the disturbance could be a sign that an invisible lump of dark matter is nearby, beginning to squander the ruin of gravity on anything within its reach.

Indeed, star clusters stretched by gravitational forces are inevitable. The star cluster, as the name suggests, has a tight, ga ense concentration of stars. Even internally, gravitational interactions can be very difficult.

Between those internal interactions and the tidal forces of the outer galaxy – which are only gravitated by galaxies – the constellation can end by pulling clusters into stellar rivers: known as tidal currents.

These currents are difficult to see in the sky, as the distances of the stars are always difficult to check, and so grouped stars stay together. But Gaia Satellite is working to map the galaxy in three dimensions with the most detailed and highest accuracy achievable, and with the most accurate position and velocity data on as many stars as possible.

Because stars drawn from a star cluster still share the same velocity (more or less) as stars In Cluster, Gaia data has helped astronomers identify many previously unknown tidal currents, and star clusters with tidal tails – star threads that have begun to loose from both the front and back of the cluster.

In 2019, astronomers revealed that they have found evidence of a second Gaia data release of tidal tails flowing from Hyde; 153 light-years away, it is the closest star cluster to Earth.

This attracted the attention of the European Space Agency and the European Southern Observatory astronomer Teresa Jerabkova and her colleagues. When Gaia Data Release 2.5 (DR2.5) and DR3 became available, they were expanding the search parameters to search for the bottom, which had missed previous investigations.

They found hundreds and hundreds of stars associated with Hyde. The central cluster is about 60 light-years old; Tidal tails span thousands of light-years.

Having such tails is quite common for a star cluster interrupted by galactic tidal forces, but the team saw something strange. They were running simulations of cluster breakdown, and found significantly more stars in the rear tail of the simulation. In the actual cluster, some stars are missing.

The teams ran more simulations to find out why these stars were misleading – and found that they could observe interactions with something about 10 million times larger than the Sun’s mass.

“Indeed, Ga must have been approached with great difficulty, and Hydes was just demolished,” Jerabkova said.

The big problem with that view is that we can’t currently see anything on a large scale anywhere nearby. However, the universe is really full of invisible matter – dark matter, the name we give to the mysterious mass whose existence can only be detected by its gravitational influence on things we can see.

According to these gravitational effects, scientists have calculated that about 80 percent of matter in the universe is dark matter. It is believed that dark matter is an essential part of the formation of the galaxy – its large lumps accumulate in the early universe and shape the ordinary things into the galaxies we see today.

Halo of dark matterSchematic diagram of the dark matter halo of our galaxy. (Digital Universe / American Museum of Natural History)

Those dark matter clamps can still be found today in the extended ‘dark dark lodge’ around the galaxy. The idea of ​​a galaxy is 1.9 million light-years. In those halos, astronomers have predicted denser clamps known as dark matter subhalos flowing around.

The discovery of the future could change a structure that could cause the strange disappearance of stars in the rear tail of the hydens; If they don’t, the researchers believe the disruption could be the work of a dark object that is sublime.

The discovery also suggests that tidal currents and tidal tails may be excellent places to find sources of mysterious gravitational interactions.

“With Gaia, the way we look at galaxies has completely changed,” Jerabkova said. “And with these discoveries, we’ll be able to map the galaxy’s sub-structure better than ever before.”

Research has been published in Astronomy and Astrophysics.