The Hubble Telescope found remnants of ancient stars in the Milky Way in a recent picture it took of a bulge near the center of our galaxy. The image captured by the telescope helped astronomers find a population of ancient white dwarfs, which are the remnants of stars that have burned out.
- The Hubble Telescope has captured images of burned out stars called white dwarfs at the center of the Milky Way.
- The ancient white dwarfs can provide information about the time when our galaxy had just formed.
- The stars in the bulge at the center of the Milky Way are worth studying as they are the oldest stars in our galaxy.
The white dwarfs, which are left overs of stars that had once shined bright but have since burned out, were discovered near the center of the Milky Way galaxy and were subjected to a detailed study in order for scientists to find out more about the way our galaxy was formed.
The stars may offer interesting clues as to how the early formation of the Milky Way occurred as they date back 12 billion years, which means they existed long before the solar system and the Earth were formed. It seems that the stars collapsed into white dwarfs when they burned out and they are of vital importance as they are considered time capsules which contain information about the time when they burned out.
This time is what is important, as the stars became white dwarfs when our galaxy had just started to bloom. Scientists believe that the bulge at the center of the Milky Way was the first to be created when our galaxy started to form, so the stars inside it were born very quickly, in less than 2 billion years. Later on more stars were born and expanded around the original bulge.
As these white dwarfs are located in that central bulge it is believed that they are some of the first stars created in the Milky Way. Annalisa Calamida, of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, co-author of the study which collected information about the white dwarfs, explains that it is of vital importance to study the Milky Way bulge, as it is the only bulge close enough to be observed in detail.
While scientists are able to observe bulges in other galaxies, the very faint stars such as the white dwarfs cannot be seen because of the considerable distance between our galaxy and other surrounding galaxies. And the Milky Way bulge is by no means small as it contains about a quarter of the galaxy’s total stellar mass.
By collecting information about the stars in the bulge, such as the white dwarfs, scientists can understand how the formation of the Milky Way occurred. And in understanding the properties of the bulge they can then discover information not only about the formation of the Milky Way but also other similar galaxies that are farther away.
Image source: www.pixabay.com