Milkyway Galaxy

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Researchers Come up With New Evidence to Determine When and How the Milky Way Came into Being

Origin of Milky Way Found Out…Learn more…

Wednesday, 2nd June 2021

One of the most enigmatic galaxies observed by humankind, the Milky Way continues to hold a plethora of secrets in its history. However, a new study has been able to piece together the best evidence about when our Milky Way actually came together.


Researchers have put into use some of the most sophisticated methods in astronomy that have aided them in zeroing in on the most specific ages for a sample of nearly one hundred red giant stars present in the galaxy.


The researchers have been able to explain with the help of such data, the happenings in the Milky Way when it came together with an orbiting satellite galaxy- the Gaia-Enceladus, about 10 billion years ago.


According to Fiorenzo Vincenzo, co-author of the study and a fellow in The Ohio State University's Center for Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, “Our evidence suggests that when the merger occurred, the Milky Way had already formed a large population of its own stars.”

Also Read: NASA Shares Striking Image of Galaxy Cluster.

Josefina Montalban, who led the project and is with the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. said, “The merging event with Gaia-Enceladus is thought to be one of the most important in the Milky Way's history, shaping how we observe it today.”


For the first time ever, researchers have been able to ascertain that the stars captured from Gaia-Enceladus have similar or slightly younger ages as opposed to most of the stars that were born inside the Milky Way. They came to this inference by calculating the age of the stars and have also found that an aggressive merging of 2 galaxies has altered the orbits of stars and made them more eccentric.


Among the various approaches and data sources used to conduct the study and get such precise ages, one way was by the use of asteroseismology. This is a comparatively novel field that digs deep into the internal structure of stars.


“That allows us to get very precise ages for the stars, which are important in determining the chronology of when events happened in the early Milky Way,” said Mathieu Vrard, a postdoctoral research associate in Ohio State's Department of Astronomy.


Yet another aid put to use in the study was a spectroscopic survey, called APOGEE. This helps in providing the chemical composition of stars.

As per researchers, this is only the beginning of a vast subject yet to unfold.

The News Talkie Bureau



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