Young stars found within the center of the Milky Way have thwarted previous theories that the central bulge of the galaxy no longer had the sufficient material for making new ones.
- Researchers used ESO’s VISTA telescope to make their findings
- It was believed that the center of the Milky Way was made out of only ancient stars
- Out of the 655 stars found, 35 of them were labeled as ‘young’
- Astronomers found the young stars to have been born less than 100 million years ago, or be even younger than 25 million years old
Astronomers at the Paranal Observatory in Chile used the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) high-tech telescope to make their findings. There are certain issues impending the discovery and clearer image of stars within the central bulge of the Milky Way. Due to the amounts of dust and gas, the view is impended, which halts progress and new imagining.
However, astronomers were able to make use of ESO’s Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) in order to surpass those obstacles. Due to the infrared technology of the telescope, they were indeed able to peer through the mess of dust and gas. This has led to the surprising discovery of young stars when it was believed that center of the our galaxy could not produce them.
The astronomers looked for Cepheids within the central galactic bulge. They are an exceptional type of stars, which fluctuate their brightness across days or perhaps months. Due to these intermittent characteristics, astronomers are able to determine their age. As the stellar bodies contract and expand, they become incredibly useful tools at determining galactic structures and time of inception.
By using VISTA, scientists were able to observe 655 Chepeids at the center of the Milky Way. Surprisingly, 35 among them were found to be Classical Chepeids, that were significantly much younger. This sprung after previous estimations that the central bulge was exclusively made from ancient stars.
According to the co-author of the study, Dante Minniti, those 35 Classical Chepeids were less than 100 million years old. In fact, the youngest among them was believed to have been born only around 25 million years ago. In astronomical terms, that means they’re very, very young. It’s an exceptional discovery that has led the way to many more questions.
It essentially proves that after decades of estimations, there is still evidence that there will still be mysterious variables popping up left and right. The Milky Way appears to no longer have its center containing exclusively ancient stars. Though how they formed is yet unknown. There have been hints about the possible existence of a new, unknowable source that could be creating these young stars.
Astronomers now will conduct more research to better understand their nature. For one, they could either have been created by an undiscovered source, or they could have travelled to the center from outside regions. Even more, researchers claim that they have not eliminated the possibility of even more and younger Chepeids are scattered around the center of the Milky Way.
Image source: crystalinks.com