A stunning new image has revealed that our Milky Way had something of a sinister side in its youth as it gobbled up a smaller dwarf galaxy 10 billion years ago.

Scientists from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) have created a new cosmic picture of the Milky Way galaxy which shows its origins, before it gobbled up another smaller galaxy called Gaia-Enceladus after the two galaxies collided.

© GABRIEL PÉREZ DÍAZ, SMM (IAC)

Although scientists knew that the galaxies had merged before now, the timeline of the collision and its aftermath was debated. Thanks to recent accurate stellar age data gathered by the European Space Agency’s Gaia spacecraft mission, the team was able to create a color magnitude diagram showing the age distribution of stars in the current disk and inner halo of the Milky Way, allowing them to identify when the merger took place. (RT)