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What are Galactic tides?
• Galactic tides are a gravitational phenomenon that occurs within galaxies, including our Milky Way.
• They are similar to Earth’s ocean tides but on a much larger scale.
• They are caused by gravitational forces within a galaxy arising in the interactions between celestial objects like stars and gas clouds.
How does Galactic Tides influence various aspects of a galaxy’s evolution?
• They can reshape a galaxy structure by creating tidal tails and bridges, promoting star formation, and disrupting smaller star systems.
• They can disrupt the orbits of stars, leading to gradual and long-term changes in a galaxy’s structure.
• They also have a say in the ways in which proximate galaxies do and don’t interact. Researchers have observed the closest galaxy to the Milky Way, the colossal Andromeda, and found that tidal streams near its edges could be signatures of dwarf galaxies that were later devoured. The Andromeda galaxy is heading towards the Milky Way and will collide in four billion years.
• They also affect the supermassive black holes at galaxy centers.