Uncovering the Ancient Streams of the Milky Way

Uncovering the Ancient Streams of the Milky Way

Recent discoveries have shed light on two streams of ancient stars within the Milky Way, believed to be almost as old as the Universe itself. These celestial bodies, named Shiva and Shakti by astrophysicist Khyati Malhan and astronomer Hans Walter-Rix, provide a glimpse into the early stages of our galaxy when it was still in its infancy.

The European Space Agency’s Gaia telescope has proven to be a valuable tool in unraveling the history of the Milky Way through galactic archaeology. By collecting precise data on the positions, velocities, and metallicity of stars, Gaia enables astronomers to identify ancient populations of stars and uncover structures that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Malhan and Walter-Rix’s analysis using Gaia revealed two distinct streams of stars, Shiva and Shakti, with ages around 12 to 13 billion years old. These streams, each with a mass equivalent to 10 million Suns, orbit the Milky Way in a manner that suggests they were once separate structures that later merged with the galaxy during its formation.

Based on their observations, the researchers propose that the Milky Way originated from a cosmic blob that gradually accumulated stars and matter from its surroundings. Shiva and Shakti are believed to be remnants of this ancient process, representing filaments and tendrils of stars that fed the growth of the galaxy.

The discovery of Shiva and Shakti not only provides insights into the early stages of the Milky Way but also contributes to our understanding of how galaxies evolve over time. By studying these ancient structures, astronomers can piece together the intricate history of our galaxy and gain a deeper understanding of its formation and development.

As we continue to explore the cosmos and uncover hidden treasures within our own galaxy, the importance of tools like Gaia cannot be overstated. The unprecedented data provided by Gaia allows scientists to delve into realms previously inaccessible, shedding light on ancient phenomena that hold the key to unraveling the mysteries of the Universe.

The discovery of the ancient streams Shiva and Shakti within the Milky Way serves as a testament to the power of modern technology in uncovering the secrets of the Universe. Through meticulous analysis and groundbreaking discoveries, astronomers are able to piece together the cosmic puzzle of our galaxy’s origins and evolution, paving the way for further exploration and discovery in the realm of astrophysics.


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