Archaeologists are not the only ones searching the world for traces of the past. Astrophysicists do this too. And this time, towards the center of the Milky Way, they found a fossil fragment that could help them tell the story of our galaxy.
Over 40 years a bit like the 150 others in the . Still, he saw something special. Liller 1 is almost in the galactic plane, near the center of ours . But today, (Italy) claim that it is in fact what remains of one of the giant star clusters that formed the central bulge of the Milky Way around 12 billion years ago.Liller saw 1 a
A few years ago, the same researchers showed that the properties of Terzan 5 did not correspond to those of a globular cluster. A curious, at the moment. But with the discovery made on Liller 1 today, astronomers seem to show that there is a class of which had not yet been identified.
Re-read the history of the Milky Way
This is thanks to a combination of data from the observatory South Twins (Chile) and that this discovery was made possible today in one of the most opaque regions of the Milky Way. A region in which thick They make dust of up to 10,000 times weaker than it actually is. “The combined Gemini and Hubble images gave us a clear, detailed view of the stars in Liller 1.”confirms Cristina Pallanca, astronomer at the University of Bologna.
What surprised the researchers was that within these structures – Liller 1 and Terzan 5 – two very different populations of stars coexist. Very old stars on the one hand. Founded approximately 12 billion years ago. And on the other hand. Between 1 and 2 billion years for Liller 1 and approximately 4.5 billion years for Terzan 5. “People abound and focuses on central regions according to a self-enrichment scenario “, explains Barbara Lanzoni, researcher. What proves that these structures were formed at the time of the formation of the Milky Way and that they could then trigger star formation events.
“Now we have to dig deeper. Thanks to these “fossil finds”, we can finally begin to read the history of the Milky Way. And who knows, we may have to rethink our knowledge of the formation of the galactic bulb. “with Francesco Ferraro.