Researchers have discovered an amazing amount of hydrogen, which extends as a „bridge“ in length 2.6 million light years between two galaxies. This is more than a million light years more than the similar flow that was discovered in the constellation Virgo.
„It was a totally unexpected discovery,“ says Reece Taylor, a researcher at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, who led the study. „We often see gas flows in galaxies where many galaxies are located close to each other, but to find something so great outside a constellation is unprecedented“
The scientists are impressed by the amount of hydrogen contained in the stream. According to the team, the mass of the gas is 15 billion times bigger then the mass of the Sun. This is much more than in the Milky Way and Andromeda together.
This flow of atomic hydrogen is at a distance of about 500 million light years from Earth and has been seen by the radiotelescope William Gordon at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Its origin is unknown, but one hypothesis suggests that a large galaxy passed close to a smaller galaxy in the near past, expanding the gas as much as it is far from the other galaxies.
The study will be published soon in the monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.