ESO shows the central area of the Milky Way and eruption of old stars, ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) monitors the center of the Milky Way with spectacular resolution and reveals new details about the birth history of the stars in our galaxy.
“Our unprecedented exploration of many galactic centers has given us a thorough understanding of the process of star formation in the Milky Way region,” the researchers said. Contrary to what has received so far, we have found that star formation is not continuous.
The team found that about 80% of stars in the Milky Way’s central region formed in the earliest years of our galaxy, eight and 13.5 billion years ago. The initial period of star formation followed by around six billion years in which very few stars were born.
It ended with a strong explosion of star formation about one billion years ago when stars with a total mass of tens of millions of suns formed in this central region in a period of fewer than 100 million years.
Conditions in the region under investigation during this disruption of activity must be the same as those in “galactic galaxies” that form stars at speeds of more than 100 solar masses per year, the researchers said. The entire Milky Way now forms stars at a rate of about one or two solar masses per year.
This wave of activity, which should have led to the explosion of more than one hundred thousand supernovas, is one of the most vicious events in the history of the Milky Way, he added. Many massive stars form during star explosions. Because they have shorter lives than little stars, they reach the end of their lives much faster and die in cruel supernova explosions.
This study made possible by observations from the central galactic region, which made with the ESO-HASO-I instrument on VLT in the Chilean Atacama Desert. This infrared-sensitive camera sees through the dust and gives a very detailed picture of the central region of the Milky Way, released in October by Nogueras-Lara Astronomy & Astrophysics and teams of astronomers from Spain, the US, Japan, and Germany.
This amazing picture shows the densest regions of stars, gas, and dust of galaxies, where there are also supermassive black holes with an angular resolution of 0.2 arc seconds. This means that the level of detail captured by HAWK-I is roughly the same as the soccer ball in Zurich, Munich, where the ESO headquarters located.
This image is the first edition of the GALACTICNUCLEUS study. This program relies on the wide field of view and the high angular resolution of the HAWK-I ESO from VSO to create beautiful sharp images of the central region of our galaxy.
The study examines more than three million stars in regions corresponding to more than 60,000 square light-years from the center of the galaxy (one light-year is equal to about 9.5 trillion kilometers).