The new stars are less than 100 million years old, indicating that our galaxy is still producing stars.
A never-before-seen cluster of young stars have been discovered inside the Milky Way. The stars are in the form of a disc and are located near the peanut-shaped bulge in the center of the galaxy.
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Astronomers are amazed to discover a group of young stars in our galaxy because it has been thought previously that the Milky Way contains only older stars and has already used up all of its star-making material long ago. However, the new discovery indicates that not only is material left but the galaxy is bursting out new stars as well.
Using the observational data from VISTA telescope, the stars are classified as Cepheids, a type of star which brightens and dims periodically and used for measuring the distance of objects Milky Way and beyond.
Among the 655 newly discovered stars, 35 are identified as classical Cepheids, very young and bright stars that were born not more than 100 million years ago.
“All of the 35 classical Cepheids discovered are less than 100 million years old. The youngest Cepheid may even be only around 25 million years old, although we cannot exclude the possible presence of even younger and brighter Cepheids.” Explains co-author Dante Minniti, of the Universidad Andres Bello, Santiago, Chile explained.
The thin disc of young stars across the galactic bulge was not easy to detect as it was buried behind the thick cloud of dust. The unique power of ESO’s VISTA telescope made it possible to cut through the thick dust and locate a new group of stars, that was not known to the scientists before.
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Further investigations are needed to assess these new born stars. In-depth analysis of their properties is the key to understand the evolution of our galaxy.