'Gangotri wave' connecting two of Milky Way's spiral arms discovered

Bob Yirka is a writer for Phys.org.

A wave-like feature can be seen on the 13CO integrated intensity map from the SEDIGISM survey. The top panel has an intensity map from the ThrUMMS survey smoothed to a resolution of 5'. Images are stretched along the y- axis for a better visualization.

A group of researchers from Germany, France and the U.K. have discovered a long thin gas line connecting two of the spiral arms of the Milky Way. The group describes their work in a paper published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Other galaxies have features called feathers that look like feathers. It is very difficult to study the Milky Way from an Earth perspective, so no such features have been seen.

The researchers were studying the concentrations of carbon monoxide gas in the data from the APEX telescope. After taking a closer look at the concentrations that had not been seen before, they discovered that they were part of a large gas formation that extended from near the center of the galaxy outward, connecting two of the arms that give the galaxy its distinctive look.

The researchers named the formation Gangotri wave after the massive glacier that gives rise to the Ganges River. Akasha Ganga is the name of the Milky Way galaxy in India. The feather spans between the two arms and is close to the center of the galaxy. It's mass is estimated to be equal to nine suns. The gas tendrils found in the Milky Way have aligned with the spiral arms before.

The Gangotri wave has a unique feature that is not as straight as expected. Instead, it zig-zags back and forth along its length in a pattern similar to a wave. The researchers were not able to explain the strange phenomenon but they did note that force must be at play. The team plans to look for new feathers while studying gases in the Milky Way.

V. S. Veena and her colleagues wrote about a kiloparsec-scale Molecular Wave in the Inner Telescope. There is a book titled "10847/2041-8213/ac341f".

The Astrophysical Journal Letters contains information.

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The 'Gangotri wave' connecting two of the spiral arms of the universe was found in November of 2021.

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