Release Images

Release No.: 2012-30
For Release: Monday, October 29, 2012 - 5:00am

Galactic Thief: "I Would Have Gotten Away With It, If It Weren't for Those Meddling Astronomers"

As the Milky Way rises over the horizon at the European Southern Observatory, its companion galaxies also come into view. The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) at far left lies about 160,000 light-years away, while the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC, above and to the right of the LMC) lies about 200,000 light-years away. New simulations show that the LMC stole stars from the SMC when the two galaxies collided 300 million years ago. Microlensing events that have been observed are due to LMC stars passing in front of a stream of stars pulled from the SMC.

ESO/Y. Beletsky