Astronomers have released the most comprehensive survey of the Milky Way, revealing thousands of “stellar earthquakes” and stellar DNA, and helping to identify the most habitable corners of our galaxy.
Observations from the European Space Agency’s Kia survey contain nearly two billion stars – about 1% of the total number in the galaxy – and allow astronomers to reconstruct our galaxy’s structure and discover how they fit in for billions of years.
Previous Gaya StudiesLaunched in 2013, a robotic spacecraft has elegantly explored the motions of stars in our galaxy. Retracing these motions allows astronomers to simulate how our galaxy formed over time. Recent observations include detailing the chemical compositions, temperature of the stars, colours, mass and age based on spectroscopy, which splits stellar light into different wavelengths.
These measurements unexpectedly revealed thousands of stellar earthquakes and catastrophic tsunamis on the surfaces of stars. “The Starwalks taught us a lot about the stars – especially their inner workings,” said Connie Ayertz, Kia Partner with Guy Levine in Belgium. Gaia opens a gold mine to explore massive stars.
Dr. “If you could see these stars changing halfway through the Milky Way, it would be like changing the shape of the Sun if you were somewhere close by,” said George Seabrook, senior research assistant at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory at University College London. for them “.
The Gaia is equipped with a 1 billion pixel camera – the largest ever in space – and complete with more than 100 electronic detectors. The latest database represents the largest chemical map of the galaxy, with a composition of six million stars, ten times the number measured in previous terrestrial rolls.
The shape of the stars will tell us about their origin and consequences, and will help unravel the history of the Milky Way. The first protostars that formed after the Big Bang were hydrogen and helium, the only light elements. These formed the first supernovae that enriched galaxies with metals and elements such as carbon and oxygen, and found heavier elements in later generations of stars. A star’s chemical makeup, like its DNA, gives us important information about its origin.
Kia revealed that some stars in our galaxy are made of primordial matter, while others are made of material enriched by previous generations of stars, such as our sun. The stars closest to the center and flat of our galaxy are more metallic than the stars farther away. Kia has also identified the first stars to emerge from galaxies other than our own, based on their chemical makeup.
“It’s a wonderful melting pot of our galaxies,” said Alejandro Recio Blanco, Gaia cooperative member at the Observatoire de la Cte d’Azur in France. “This diversity is very important because it tells the story of the formation of our galaxy.”
Finding a “metallic ramp” across the galaxy could help discover habitable regions in the Milky Way, Zeebrock said. “If the sun was born in an area with a high mineral content, many supernovae would appear, endangering life on Earth,” he said.
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