Image of the Milky Way
(Mirror Daily, United States) Any fifth grader could tell you that the Universe began with the Big Bang and that the Milky Way is the galaxy we live in, hosting the Solar System. What they might not know is the scientists’ latest discovery: the space in the center of our galaxy has no stars in it.
The scientists conducting the study were surprised when coming to this reality because they were expecting to find Cepheids at the core of the galaxy. Cepheids are young stars, aged between 10 and 300 million years. One of their distinctive features is their brightness. Even so, there are not easily visible from Earth, because of the dense atmosphere and the dust.
Researchers have analyzed the space at the center of the Milky Way. It is called the Extreme Inner Disk. Japanese leader Noriyuki Matsunaga (from the University of Tokyo ) comment on the results:
“We already found some time ago that there are Cepheids in the central heart of our Milky Way. Now we find that outside this there is a huge Cepheid desert extending out to 8,000 light-years from the center”.
This emptiness shows that there might be something wrong with the galaxy, researchers claim, and they might have set the wrong predictions about the phenomenon in the first place. Finding that no young stars are born at the core of the Milky Way took them by surprise.
Apart form the few Cepheids they found with their first study, scientists now face the reality of the lack of newborn stars in the Milky Way. Italian researcher Giuseppe Bono stated the following on the situation:
“The current results indicate that there has been no significant star formation in this large region over hundreds of millions years.”
Michael Feast (University of Cape Town), one of the co-authors of the study, also made a public statement, and his opinion is the same as that of astronomers:
“Our conclusions are contrary to other recent work, but in line with the work of radio astronomers who see no new stars being born in this desert.”
Nevertheless, it may be a blessing in disguise. This new information most certainly helps researchers figure out what is happening in the galaxy, and gather more information about its’ evolution.
The international team of researchers published the studies in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Image Source: Wikipedia