June 14, 2024
A view of the disk of the Milky Way surrounded by our galaxy’s halo which could be home to three surprisingly ancient stars. (Image credit: Serge Brunier; NASA)

In the Milky Way, 3 intruder stars are ‘on the run’ — in the wrong direction

“They’re all quite fast — hundreds of kilometers per second, going the wrong way.”

Astronomers have discovered three ancient stars “on the run” in the outskirts of the Milky Way galaxy, racing the wrong way at hundreds of thousands of miles per hour.

Despite being spritely for their age, the three stars are so old that they date back to the formation of the first galaxies. That’s between one and two billion years after the Big Bang.

The researchers believe there may be more ancient star stragglers existing at the edges of the solar system, forming a sort of “fossil record” that details how our galaxy grew by consuming others and adopting their stars. Such stars could also be used as analogs to study the 13.8 billion-year-old universe’s earliest stars and galaxies.

“These oldest stars should definitely be there, given what we know of galaxy formation,” team member and MIT professor of physics Anna Frebel said in a statement. “They are part of our cosmic family tree. And we now have a new way to find them.”

Interesting Read…

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