Artificial intelligence has recreated the past of the Milky Way
Astrophysicists have been able to recreate the past of the Milky Way using a number of computer models. Research has shown that our galaxy experienced the largest collision during its formation phase, 11 billion years ago, according to the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Intergalactic collisions are relatively frequent. But this cataclysm was so massive that it significantly changed the appearance of the Milky Way.
Scientists could not say which galaxy the Milky Way collided with, and conditionally named it “the Kraken galaxy” – in honor of the mythical sea monster. They also found that major collisions occurred 10, 9, and 7 billion years ago.
As part of the study, astrophysicists taught artificial intelligence to analyze globular clusters – dense groups containing up to a million stars. They can act as building blocks for vast galaxies and possibly date back to the beginning of the universe (about 14 billion years ago).
The Milky Way contains over 150 such clusters. Many of them were formed in dwarf galaxies, which then merged into it. During the simulation, the researchers were able to correlate the age, chemical composition and orbital movements of globular clusters with the primitive galaxies in which they originated.
During its history, the Milky Way destroyed about five galaxies with more than 100 million stars and about 15 – with 10 million stars. The most massive galaxies collided with the Milky Way between six and 11 billion years ago, the authors of the scientific work concluded.
Previously, scientists have established the time of the origin of the solar system. It was formed in just 200 thousand years.