Scientists have found the remains of a strange, spherical block cut on the edge of the Milky Way in the constellation of Phoenix.
Globular clusters are dense balls of about a million old stars, all tied to gravity, at the outer edge of our galaxy, the Milky Way.
Using the Anglo-Australian Telescope in remote areas of New South Wales, researchers measured the velocities of star stars in the constellation of Phoenix, which they believe are the remains of globular clusters.
The old group of stars was torn apart by the attractiveness of the Milky Way more than two billion years ago, and its stars suck in the main body of the galaxy system.
The spherical mass is believed to be the “last of its kind”, and “should not have existed” due to the lack of heavy elements in its original structure.
In this study, researchers from the University of Sydney focused on a stream of stars in the constellation of Phoenix, a small constellation in the southern sky.
And within a few billion years, the Phoenix constellation will be completely destroyed and absorbed into our galaxy.
Lead author Chen Wan of the University of Sydney said: “We found the remains of this group before they faded forever in the galaxy’s aura. Although the mass was destroyed billions of years ago, we can still say that it formed in the early universe of its star formation.”
The stars in this “galactic archaeological site” contain much smaller amounts of heavier elements than those in other clusters.
The Milky Way is home to about 150 spherical clusters, each of which is a ball of a million or so stars that rotate in the fragile astral aura of the galaxy.
These spherical clusters are old enough to witness the growth of the Milky Way over billions of years. After the Big Bang, more than 13 billion years ago, there was only hydrogen and helium in large quantities in the universe, and they formed the first generation of stars.
In these stellar generations, heavier elements, such as calcium, oxygen, and phosphorous, were formed.
To understand spherical clusters, astronomers measure the chemical elements they contain that are heavier than hydrogen and helium, what astronomers call the star mineral.
“We were really surprised when we found that the stream of early universe stars in Phoenix has a very low mineral, which makes it completely different from all the other spherical groups in the galaxy,” Wan said.
There is a minimum of minerals that the spherical mass must contain, and no “unfertilized” spherical mass should be found, the theory says.
There is also a minimum of “flooring” of the metal, which no group can form under it, however, the phoenix stream metal falls below this minimum.
“This stream comes from a group that we cannot interpret according to our current understanding,” said associate professor Daniel Zucker, from Macquarie University in Sydney.
One of the possible explanations is that the Phoenix stream is the “last of its kind” and represents the remains of a group of globular clusters that were born in “radically different environments” from those we see today.
Co-author Ting Li of Carnegie Observatories in the United States said: “The remains of the spherical cluster that forms the course of the Phoenix have been disrupted many billions of years ago.
However, there is no clear explanation for the origins of the spherical mass remains. “There is a lot of theoretical work left to do,” said astrophysicist and co-author, Professor Grant Grant, at the University of Sydney.
“There are now many new questions to explore about how galaxies and spherical clusters form, which is very exciting,” he added.
Source: Daily Mail