The Milky Way is the densest part of the disk of the Galaxy in which we are. On the other hand, as the online publication nanoWerk notes, over long periods of time it’s not always looked the same – its evolution is quite a challenge for a lot of astrophysicists.
In order to study this evolution, ESA’s Gaia Mission measures the luminosities, motions, positions, and also the chemical composition of a large number of individual stars in our Galaxy.
Astronomers at the IAC have combined the luminosity of 24 million stars within a sphere of about 6,500 light-years around the Sun.
They compared the luminosities and the colors with some pretty accurate models of the stars – the result is mind-blowing: they managed to obtain the most detailed evolutionary history of the Milky Way so far!
An irregular rate at which stars form
“We might well have expected that the Milky Way did not form stars at a constant rate throughout its history, but we didn’t expect such well defined periods of great activity”, said Tomás Ruiz Lara, an IAC astrophysicist and the first author of the article (Nature Astronomy, “The recurrent impact of the Sagittarius dwarf on the star formation history of the Milky Way”) as reported by the online publication mentioned above.
It’s been also revealed that about 13 billion years ago, star formation used to be violent and sustained,. On the other hand, it’s worth noting the fact that the rate at which stars formed declined gradually as time passed.
We recommend that you check out more details in the original article.
In other Milky Way-related news, not too long ago, it’s been revealed that there’s a new study that has been published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters in April that is of high interest regarding the black hole at the center of Milky Way.