Astronomers have located a stream of stars close to Earth
Thanks to data collected by the Gaia satellite, astronomers have discovered a giant river of more than 4,000 stars flowing relatively close to Earth. A stream of stars is the remnant of a cluster of stars that was torn apart by galactic tidal forces.
The stream of stars flowing relatively close to Earth was discovered by astronomers from the University of Vienna. It is located 330 light years away from us and contains at least 4,000 stars, które have been traveling together through space since they formed about a billion years ago.
Because of its close proximity to Earth, the jet is an excellent workshop for którym it is possible to test the processes of tearing apart clusters, make measurementsóin the Milky Way’s gravitational pull and learn more about the population of exoplanets. Scientists used data from the ESA-owned Gaia satellite to locate the star stream.
Our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is home to clusters of stars with rósized and róluminous age. In molecular clouds, researchers are finding many young star clusters. Slightly fewer middle-aged and mature clusters are in the Galactic disk. Fewest are the oldest globular clusters in the galactic halo.
These clusters, regardless of their origin and age, are subject to tidal forces in their orbits wokó³ Galaxies. As time passes, the gravitational forces of the Milky Way tear them apart, scattering the stars in a collection of stars thatóry we know as the Milky Way.
– Most star clusters in the galactic disk dissipate quickly after forming because they do not contain enough stars to create a deep gravitational potential. In other words, they do not have enough „glue”, to stay together. However, there are a few clusters with enough mass to last for several hundred millionóin years, so the large, jet-like remnants of cluster róalso should be part of the Milky Way’s disk – said Stefan Meingast, head ofówn author of the publication.
Astronomers have already seen these stars, but until now did not realize that they belong to a group. When they looked closely at the extremely detailedóWith data from the Gaia satellite, this unknown and as yet unexplored group of instantly zwróhas been cutting their attention. The stars have exactly the characteristics researchers expected from a cluster of stars born together but torn apart by the Milky Way’s gravitational field. This river extends for 1,300 light years and is 160 light years wide. Stars in the jet move together at about the same speed and in the same direction.
– Identifying nearby streams in the disk is like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. Astronomers have been looking at and through this new jet for a long time because it covers most of the night sky, but only now have they realized it’s there – huge and shockingly close to the Sun – admitted João Alves, coór author of the article. – Such discoveries, and close to us, are very useful. This means that they can be studied more closely. This dream of the astronomersów – added.
The authors of the study determined that the age of the jet is about a billion years old. He therefore completed four full orbits of the wokóhead of our galaxy’s. This is enough time for a jet-like structure to develop as a result of gravitational interaction with the Milky Way disk.
– Once specificólarly we examined this group of stars, we knew we had found what we were looking for: a jet-like structure, extending over a distance of hundreds of parsecsóin a third of the entire sky,” said Verena Fürnkranz, wspóauthor of the study. – It was exciting to be part of the new discovery, she added.