The following is an excerpt from HIMANSHU GOENKA | January 12, 2018 | ibtimes.com |
Our home galaxy, the Milky Way, is a spiral-shaped galaxy that thins out from the center to its arms. While our solar system is located close to the outer edges of the galaxy, it is the galactic center — called the bulge, given its thickness if the galaxy were viewed from the side — where the majority of the galaxy’s stars reside.
Astronomers had long thought the stars in the inner regions of the Milky Way are the oldest and earliest stellar members of the galaxy. But verifying that assumption was difficult, given how crowded the region is, which makes it difficult to examine individual star motions in detail. New analysis of data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope gets around that problem, however, and showed that assumption to be wrong.
Using nine years of archival data from Hubble, that included “about 10,000 normal sun-like stars in the bulge,” a team led by Will Clarkson of the University of Michigan-Dearborn found that far from being a homogenous sort of place, the galactic center “is a dynamic environment of stars of various ages zipping around at different speeds, like travelers bustling about a busy airport.”
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