Astronomers have detected “a stellar remnant” that tells the story of the Milky Way’s past

Archaeologists are not the only ones searching the world for traces of the past. Astronomers also do this. And this time, it is towards the center of the Milky Way that they have uncovered a fossil fragment that may well help them tell the story of our Galaxy.

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[EN VIDÉO] Milky Way: simulation of galaxy formation
The film shows a computer simulation of the galaxy like the Milky Way. The film moves rapidly through simulated time, from the 13 billion years of the past to the present day. The main galaxy grows as many smaller galaxies merge with it. The Herakleys look like one of the smaller galaxies that got into the process of merging with the Milky Way early. © Ted Mackereth, Eagle

More than 40 years old Astronomers Seen in liller 1 Circular cluster Put in a bit like 150 others Galaxy. He saw an oddity similar. Liller 1 is located approximately in the galactic plane, near our center Galaxy. but today, University of Bologna Researchers (Italy) claims that it is actually the remains of one of the giant star clusters, which merged as the central bulge of the Milky Way about 12 billion years ago.

“Our results unevenly show that Liller 1 is much more complex than a simple Circular cluster. This is a stellar remnant “, Francesco Ferraro, astronomer, tells Press release from University of Bologna. A piece Fossils Galactic bulb The story of which is printed Formation of Milky Way. »

A few years ago, these same researchers showed that the features of Terzon 5 did not correspond to a spherical cluster. A curious Discrepancy, that time. But with the discovery made on Liller 1 today, astronomers seem to think that there is a square Star system Which was not identified yet.

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Re-read the history of the Milky Way

This is thanks to a combination of data from the observatory Gemini South (Chile) and tleslesope spatial hubble This discovery was made possible today in one of the most opaque areas of the Milky Way. An area thick The clouds Made of dust Light Of Stars It is 10,000 times weaker than it actually is. “Combined Gemini and Hubble images provide us with a clear and detailed view of the stars in Liller 1”The astronomer at the University of Bologna confirms Christina Pallanka.

What surprised the researchers, however, is that within these structures – Liller 1 and Terzan 5 – two very different stellar populations coexist. Very old stars on one side. Made about 12 billion years ago. And Very small stars On the other hand. Between 1 and 2 billion years for Liller 1 and about 4.5 billion years old Terzan 5. “Rich in population Tax And self-enrichment is concentrated in the central areas according to the scenario “, Barbara Lanzoni, the researcher explains. Therefore, it is sufficient to prove that these structures were formed at the time of the formation of the Milky Way and that they were later able to trigger star formation events.

“Now we have to keep digging deeper. Thanks to these “fossil finds”, we can finally start reading the history of the Milky Way. And who knows, maybe we need to rethink our knowledge of the manufacture of galactic bulbs “, Concluded Francesco Ferraro.

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