We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Stellar Stream?

Michael Anissimov
Updated Jan 28, 2024
Our promise to you
AllTheScience is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At AllTheScience, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A stellar stream is created when stars from one galaxy get pulled from their home galaxy by another. The stellar stream is a long thin filament of stars produced by the stretching action of tidal forces. Only about a dozen stellar streams have been named or studied in detail. Being a phenomena which only occurs on a galactic scale, most stellar streams are too faint and distant to study very thoroughly.

The most familiar stellar stream and one of the first to be confirmed as such is the Arcturus stream, located only 37 light-years away, containing the star Arcturus. The Arcturus stream is a remnant of a dwarf galaxy devoured long ago by the Milky Way. Over its lifetime, the Milky Way has probably consumed dozens or even hundreds of smaller dwarf galaxies, and continues to do so today. We even observe star clusters that seem to be remnants of the cores of devoured galaxies, such as the Omega Centauri star cluster. We know these are former galactic cores and not conventional open clusters because open clusters are made up of stars that form around the same time, whereas a galactic core contains stars of greatly varying ages.

One of the best-studied stellar streams is the Magellanic stream, a star bridge connecting together two of the nearest galaxies to the Milky Way, the Small Magellanic Cloud and the Large Magellanic Cloud. Because the Magellanic clouds are among the closest galaxies to our own, at only 150,000 light-years distant, we can observe individual stars in the "clouds" and their parallaxes, letting us made a 3D map of the galaxies and their intervening stellar stream.

Just like planets such as Saturn cause dust to form into rings around them, some galaxies rip apart others and form them into rings as well. One stellar stream in the form of a ring is the Monoceros Ring, created as the Milky Way swallows a dwarf galaxy, the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy, about 100 times smaller than it.

AllTheScience is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Anissimov
By Michael Anissimov

Michael is a longtime AllTheScience contributor who specializes in topics relating to paleontology, physics, biology, astronomy, chemistry, and futurism. In addition to being an avid blogger, Michael is particularly passionate about stem cell research, regenerative medicine, and life extension therapies. He has also worked for the Methuselah Foundation, the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and the Lifeboat Foundation.

Discussion Comments

Michael Anissimov

Michael Anissimov

Michael is a longtime AllTheScience contributor who specializes in topics relating to paleontology, physics, biology...

Read more
AllTheScience, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

AllTheScience, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.