diagram shows purple lens shape below sun

Hubble Space Telescope spots protective shield against greedy Milky Way

A strange shield of supercharged gas protects dwarf galaxies from being torn apart by the Milky Way’s gravitational pull, 30 years of observations by the Hubble Space Telescope reveal.

For years, astronomers have struggled to explain why the Big and Small Magellanic Cloudstwo tiny galaxies orbiting Milky Wayform again stars. The two dwarfs galaxies have been orbiting our galactic home for billions of years, according to research, during which the much more massive Milky Way’s gravitational pull pulled gas from the two smaller galaxies, creating a trail in their wake. In theory, this loss of gas should stifle star birth, but small satellite galaxies have still managed to maintain vigorous star formation.

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