Astronomers just spotted ancient stars lurking at the edges of our galaxy – BGR

Astronomers just spotted ancient stars lurking at the edges of our galaxy – BGR

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Mike Wehner
2020-07-31 15:41:57

  • Astronomers have found some really historic stars hanging across the edges of the Milky Means galaxy.
  • The scientists consider the celebs are all that continues to be of an historic system that was torn aside by our personal galaxy way back.
  • The celebs are so previous that they stands out as the final of their type.

The Milky Way galaxy is fairly chill. In comparison with a number of the galaxies that astronomers have noticed, our residence galaxy is comparatively “calm,” for lack of a greater time period. It’s not slamming into one other galaxy or chewing via blobs of mud and fuel. It’s simply sort of hanging out and doing its factor… or not less than that’s the case proper now. Up to now, nevertheless, researchers now have proof that the Milky Means was a little bit of a bully.

As a brand new examine in Nature explains, an entire bunch of historic stars was simply found hanging out on the fringe of our galaxy, and scientists consider it’s the leftover stays of a group of stars that was shredded by the Milky Means a protracted, very long time in the past.

This isn’t the primary time a group of stars has been found orbiting our galaxy. In actual fact, researchers know of nicely over 100 such clusters, however what makes this one significantly fascinating is the age of the celebs themselves. Based mostly on their observations, the researchers consider that the celebs are historic and that our galaxy tore their unique construction aside over two billion years in the past.

“As soon as we knew which stars belonged to the stream, we measured their abundance of parts heavier than hydrogen and helium; one thing astronomers confer with as metallicity,” Zhen Wan, lead writer of the examine, said in a statement. “We have been actually stunned to search out that the Phoenix Stream has a really low metallicity, making it distinctly totally different to all the different globular clusters within the Galaxy.”

This low metallicity suggests the celebs are extremely previous, because the earliest stars had solely hydrogen and helium with which to kind. Metals got here later, so the quantity of metallic in a star can be utilized to age it. Based mostly on this, the researchers consider they’re the final of their type, not less than on this specific cosmic neighborhood.

“We will hint the lineage of stars by measuring the various kinds of chemical parts we detect in them, very similar to we are able to hint an individual’s connection to their ancestors via their DNA,” Dr. Kyler Kuehn of Lowell Observatory explains. “Probably the most fascinating factor concerning the stays of this cluster is that its stars have a lot decrease abundance of those parts than any others now we have seen. It’s virtually like discovering somebody with DNA that doesn’t match some other individual, residing or lifeless. That results in some very fascinating questions concerning the cluster’s historical past that we’re lacking.”

Mike Wehner has reported on know-how and video video games for the previous decade, protecting breaking information and traits in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech.

Most just lately, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Every day Dot, and has been featured in USA Right this moment,, and numerous different net and print shops. His love of
reporting is second solely to his gaming habit.

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