They find archaeological traces in the Milky Way

Thanks to the discovery of the exact age of two sets of stars, we can better understand the history of our galaxy. Gaia-Enceladus was absorbed by the Milky Way and changed the shape of our galaxy forever.

Some of the stars that can be seen in the Earth’s firmament have been there since the Milky Way was created. Carme Gallart, from the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, says they have found stars as old as the universe. It has been the first time that the age of former stars has been established with precision: between 10 and 13 billion years, according to National Geographic.

Thanks to identifying the oldest stars in our galaxy, we can better understand the history of the Milky Way. The age, composition and location of these stars are archaeological traces, their analysis has discovered that, 10 billion years ago, our galaxy collided with a small galaxy called Gaia-Enceladus.

The Gaia satellite has been used to analyze the stars, which has collected data from the trillion closest stars. Gallart and his team have been able to determine the luminosity and color of those stars and, based on that, their age.

Two groups of stars of the same age were located, about 10 billion years old, and found in the halo of the Milky Way. The funny thing is that one of the groups has a reddish color and a bluish color.

The reddish star set is, in part, responsible for the creation of a primitive Milky Way. For about 3 billion years, this primitive galaxy was growing, until, 7 million years later, the Milky Way encountered another small galaxy to which it absorbed, giving rise to the set of blue stars.

The discovery is very important to understand how Gaia-Enceladus changed the shape of our galaxy forever. Although we still don’t know if this was the biggest collision our galaxy has suffered, we do know that it was a fact that marked our history.

Now that we know when these events occurred we can more easily draw a profile of the Milky Way.

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