As galaxies age, some of their basic chemical elements can also show signs of aging. This aging process can be seen as certain atoms “put on a little weight,” meaning they change into heavier isotopes — atoms with additional neutrons in their nuclei.
Surprisingly, new surveys of the Milky Way with the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia, found no such aging trend for the element silicon, a fundamental building block of rocks throughout our solar system. This “ageless” appearance may mean that the Milky Way is more efficient at mixing its contents than previously thought, thereby masking the telltale signs of chemical aging.
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