ESO Telescope Captures Images of an Ancient Starburst in the Milky Way

The Very Large Telescope (or VLT), which is a part of the ESO array, has scanned the central area of the Milky Way and uncovered fascinating information about the formation of stars within the galactic boundaries.

A team of astronomers spotted evidence which infers that a significant event took place in the past in the form of a mighty burst of star formations. The phenomenon was so intense that over one hundred thousand supernova explosions took place. According to one of the researchers who analyzed the data, the formation of stars is not a continuous process, as it was thought in the past.

Ancient starburst was spotted with the ESO telescope

The study created by the researchers mentions that more than 80% of the stars that are found in the central region of the Milky Way appeared during the early days of the galaxy, ranging from eight to thirteen and a half million years ago. This period of intense activity was followed by a calmer one, which lasted for six billion years.

An intense burst of star formation took place almost one billion years ago. Within less than 100 million years, stars with a total mass that could be on par with tens of millions of stars formed in the central region. It is thought that this was one of the most energetic events that took place in our galaxy. Many of the massive stars that are formed during a starburst have a lower lifespan and will be destroyed by supernova explosions.

The VLT features a powerful infrared-sensitive camera that can peer beyond the clouds of cosmic dust, conveying valuable data about the central region of the Milky Way. As the HAWK-I instrument offers a generous field of view and high angular resolutions, the researchers could process the data to generate a remarkable image of the region. Over three million stars were surveyed, covering an area on par with 60 000 square light-years.

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