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Busy Older Stars Outpace Stellar Youngsters, New Study Shows

31 Aug 2019, 22:19 UTC
Busy Older Stars Outpace Stellar Youngsters, New Study Shows
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The oldest stars in our Galaxy are also the busiest, moving more rapidly than their younger counterparts in and out of the disk of the Milky Way, according to new analysis carried out at the University of Birmingham. The findings provide fresh insights into the history of our Galaxy and increase our understanding of how stars form and evolve.Researchers calculate that the old stars are moving more quickly in and out of the disc - the pancake-shaped mass at the heart of the Galaxy where most stars are located.A number of theories could explain this movement – it all depends where the star is in the disc. Stars towards the outskirts could be knocked by gravitational interactions with smaller galaxies passing by. Towards the inner parts of the disc, the stars could be disturbed by massive gas clouds which move along with the stars inside the disc. They could also be thrown out of the disc by the movement of its spiral structure.Dr Ted Mackereth, a galactic archaeologist in the Sun, Stars and Exoplanets Solar and Stellar Physics Group at the University of Birmingham, is lead author on the paper. He explains: “The specific way that the stars move tells ...

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