Friday, September 30, 2022

Data from GAIA area telescope reveals galaxy’s unique nucleus

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Top: Validation of our [M/H] estimates from Gaia XP knowledge as operate of precise [M/H] from APOGEE. Bottom: (In-)sensitivity of [M/H] estimates to extinction, AOk. The Y-axis reveals the distinction between [M/H] estimates based mostly on XP spectra and APOGEE as a operate of APOGEE’s AOk. There is not any proof for any systematic development of ∆[M/H] with AOk to an extinction stage that corresponds to AV ≈ 3. Credit: Hans-Walter Rix et al, The Poor Old Heart of the Milky Way, arXiv:2209.02722 [astro-ph.GA]

An worldwide group of researchers has discovered the unique nucleus of the Milky Way galaxy. They have written a paper describing their discovering and posted it on the arXiv preprint server.

Astronomers have lengthy theorized {that a} nucleus of stars nearly definitely exists on the middle of the Milky Way galaxy, however till now, they’ve been unable to search out proof. In this new effort, the researchers took up the problem by sifting by knowledge from the GAIA area telescope. Theory has additionally prompt that if there’s a nucleus of stars on the middle of the galaxy, they very probably comprise a lot much less metallic than different stars as a result of they’d have been fashioned earlier than such metals had been scattered throughout the world the place the Milky Way fashioned (roughly 12.5 billion years in the past).

Thus, they’d probably be made up largely of helium and hydrogen. Looking just for stars that match into this class narrowed issues down considerably—and so did theories which have lengthy prompt that if there’s a nucleus of stars on the middle of the galaxy, it will most definitely be situated within the constellation Sagittarius, as it’s located at what seems to be the middle of the disk that makes up the galaxy. That nonetheless left the group sifting by roughly 2 million stars, a frightening job, to make sure. But by laptop help and perseverance, they discovered what they had been in search of—a cluster of roughly 18,000 stars on the middle of the Milky Way galaxy. The stars within the cluster, the researchers observe, have lower than 3% of the metallic focus of stars farther away.

To additional check the star cluster, the researchers famous its motion in comparison with different stars round it and in addition pinpointed the placement of what needs to be the middle of the galactic disk. They additionally accounted for stars blocked by mud or different objects. Convinced that that they had discovered the guts of the Milky Way, they took measurements and located the cluster makes up simply 0.2% of the mass of the galaxy.

Image: Hubble snaps globular cluster Terzan 9

More info:
Hans-Walter Rix et al, The Poor Old Heart of the Milky Way, arXiv:2209.02722 [astro-ph.GA]

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Data from GAIA area telescope reveals galaxy’s unique nucleus (2022, September 23)
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