Astronomers discovered a collection of stars halfway to a neighboring galaxy in the Milky Way’s stellar halo.
What astronomers said
Researchers say that these 208 stars are in the farthest parts of the Milky Way’s halo, a spherical cloud of stars dominated by dark matter, which can’t be seen but can be felt through its gravitational pull. The farthest of them is 1.08 million light-years from Earth. A “light year” is the distance light travels in one year, which is 5.9 trillion miles (9.5 trillion km).
The Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea Mountain found these stars. They belong to a group of stars called RR Lyrae, with a low mass and few elements heavier than hydrogen and helium. The most distant star looks to have a mass roughly 70% that of the sun. These are the most distant Milky Way stars known to science.
You can think of the stars in the galactic halo as “star orphans.” They probably came from smaller galaxies that crashed into the Milky Way.
Yuting Feng, an astronomy doctorate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, conducted the research. They presented it this week at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle. They also believe these distant stars were born in the haloes of dwarf galaxies and star clusters that the Milky Way took up.
Must Read – Samsung galaxy S21 FE 5G
Feng said, “Their home galaxies have been torn apart and eaten by gravity, but these stars are still in this faraway place because of the merger.”
Through such tragedies, the Milky Way has expanded throughout time.
Co-author Raja GuhaThakurta, head of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz, remarked, “The larger galaxy grows by eating smaller galaxies—by eating its kind.”
The Milky Way’s halo is larger than its star-filled main disc and core bulge. Our sun lives in one of the Milky Way’s four main spiral arms. However, it is one of 100 billion to 400 billion stars in the cosmos, 26,000 light-years from Earth. The halo contains roughly five percent of the galaxy’s stars.
Dark matter makes up most of the universe’s mass and most of the halo. It may be responsible for its structure. Its gravity causes visible matter to coalesce and form stars and galaxies.
This part of the galaxy needs to be made available and better understanding. These newly discovered stars are around half the distance to the Andromeda galaxy, the Milky Way’s nearest cousin.
Must Read – Galaxy watch 5
Feng stated, “We can see that the suburbs of the Andromeda halo and the Milky Way halo are incredibly extensive and are virtually ‘back-to-back.'”
The hunt for extraterrestrial life focuses on Earth-like rocky planets orbiting in the so-called “habitable zone” surrounding stars. Exoplanets—planets outside our solar system—number over 5,000.
GuhaThakurta stated, “We don’t know for certain, but each of these outer halo stars should have roughly the same probability of having planets orbiting them as the sun and other sun-like stars in the Milky Way.”