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#1 Crisp

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 01:37

Hubble space telescope reveals astonishing first-ever pictures of Milky Way’s early years

 

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has revealed the first visual evidence of how our home galaxy, the Milky Way, assembled itself into the majestic pinwheel of stars we see today.

Astronomers used Hubble’s deep-sky surveys to study the evolution of 400 galaxies similar to the Milky Way and noted their appearance at various stages of development over a time span of 11 billion years. Judging from images of these far-flung galaxies, they found the Milky Way likely began as faint, blue, low-mass object containing lots of gas. Gas is the fuel for star birth and the blue color is an indicator of rapid star formation.

They also found the Milky Way probably was a flat disk with a bulge in the middle, both of which grew simultaneously into the majestic spiral seen today. The sun and Earth reside in the disk and the bulge is both full of older stars and home to a supermassive black hole that probably grew along with the galaxy.

“For the first time, we have direct images of what the Milky Way looked like in the past,” said study co-leader Pieter G. van Dokkum of Yale University in New Haven, Conn. “Of course, we can’t see the Milky Way itself in the past. We selected galaxies billions of light-years away that will evolve into galaxies like the Milky Way. By tracing the Milky Way’s siblings, we find that our galaxy built up 90 percent of its stars between 11 billion and 7 billion years ago, which is something that has not been measured directly before."

 

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#2 thomastmc

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 01:44

It's interesting, all of the added gas and debris in the Milky Way today came from those early stars being born and then going supernova.

If you go back even further into the past you'll see that the super massive black hole at the center of the Milky Way is a quasar :)

#3 Louisifer

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 01:45

Awww Milky's baby pictures :D and would you look at the bright young galaxy its become!