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The stream of 15 are moving at 15,000 km/h all in the same direction and at an angle to the direction of motion of the Milky Way.
video animation here of the Aquarius Stream (AVI, 7 MB).
With the RAVE project continuing until 2012, it is likely that further remnants of cannibalised dwarf galaxies will be discovered. It remains to be seen, however, whether any RAVErs can surpass the high bar for punning that Mary has set.
I have a stream.
THERE'S A CERTAIN CLASS of astronomer who takes great delight in punning their way through the Universe. Notable among these are the RAVErs, a group of 60 or so scientists who are involved with a million star survey called RAVE the RAdial Velocity Experiment.
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The discovery is particularly striking since most of the stars lie close to the disc of the Milky Way itself, making it harder to distinguish them from the general background.
Unable to resist the punning potential, Mary entitled her paper in the Astrophysical Journal "The Dawning of the Stream of Aquarius in RAVE". She went on to announce her discovery at an international astronomy conference with the words "I Reebok Black Sports Shoes
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Streaming into the Age of Aquarius
have a stream.".
The RAVE survey is being carried out using the 1.2 m UK Schmidt Telescope at the Australian Astronomical Observatory at Coonabarabran in NSW.
Charge of the Australian Astronomical Observatory at Coonabarabran in NSW, and is well known to ABC radio listeners and Australian Geographic readers. He is also a fellow RAVEr.
Mary's work at the Astrophysical Reebok Boots Black Institute at Potsdam in Germany is involved with analysing the motions of stars in the RAVE catalogue to look for patterns that might reveal evidence of smaller galaxies having been absorbed by our own Milky Way Galaxy. That is exactly what Mary Williams has now found, with the Aquarius Stream representing RAVE's first major discovery in this field of 'galactic archaeology'.
Called the Aquarius Stream, this significant group of 15 stars has been identified as unusual from the 385,000 stars whose speeds have so far been measured by RAVE.
The Stream gets its name from the constellation of Aquarius, where most of the stars are located. Tracking back from the speeds measured today, it appears that the Aquarius Stream represents the remains of a dwarf galaxy that was absorbed into the Milky Way some 700 million years ago.
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