24/7 Space News
Gaia's Discovery Illuminates Ancient Star Streams Shaping the Milky Way
illustration only
Gaia's Discovery Illuminates Ancient Star Streams Shaping the Milky Way
by Erica Marchand
Paris, France (SPX) Mar 22, 2024

ESA's Gaia space telescope has made a interesting discovery in the history of the Milky Way by identifying two ancient star streams, Shakti and Shiva, which played a crucial role in the formation of our galaxy over 12 billion years ago. These streams, predating the oldest parts of the Milky Way's spiral arms and disc, offer unprecedented insights into the early stages of galactic formation.

Khyati Malhan from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) in Heidelberg, Germany, who spearheaded the research, expressed amazement at the ability to detect such ancient galactic components. "The fact that we can identify these structures as distinct groups despite the Milky Way's significant transformation over billions of years is a testament to the unparalleled data provided by Gaia," Malhan noted. The detailed analysis of individual star orbits, chemical compositions, and similar orbits led to the identification of the Shakti and Shiva streams.

These streams each carry a mass equivalent to about 10 million Suns, consisting of stars aged 12 to 13 billion years. Their composition and distribution hint at their origin as separate fragments that merged with the Milky Way in its infancy, significantly contributing to the galaxy's growth.

The study's co-author, Hans-Walter Rix, referred to as the lead 'galactic archaeologist' from previous Gaia analyses, highlighted the metal-poor nature of stars in the Milky Way's center. This characteristic earned the region the nickname "the Milky Way's 'poor old heart,'" showcasing its composition of the galaxy's oldest stars.

The naming of the streams after Shakti and Shiva, a divine couple in Hindu philosophy symbolizing creation, reflects their critical role in the early galactic formation. While the streams share similarities, they exhibit distinct orbital patterns, with Shakti stars orbiting slightly further from the galaxy's center and in more circular paths compared to Shiva stars.

This discovery, alongside the identification of other significant star groups through Gaia data, such as Gaia-Sausage-Enceladus and LMS1/Wukong, enriches our understanding of the Milky Way's complex formation history. ESA's Gaia Project Scientist, Timo Prusti, emphasized the mission's success in revealing the galaxy's infancy and its evolution, made possible by Gaia's precise data collection.

Research Report:'Shiva and Shakti: Presumed Proto-Galactic Fragments in the Inner Milky Way'

Related Links
Max Planck Institute for Astronomy
Stellar Chemistry, The Universe And All Within It

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
NASA's Roman Team Selects Survey to Map Our Galaxy's Far Side
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Mar 14, 2024
NASA's Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope team has announced plans for an unprecedented survey of the plane of our Milky Way galaxy. It will peer deeper into this region than any other survey, mapping more of our galaxy's stars than all previous observations combined. "There's a really broad range of science we can explore with this type of survey, from star formation and evolution to dust in between stars and the dynamics of the heart of the galaxy," said Catherine Zucker, an astrophysicist at the ... read more

Artemis II's Orion Spacecraft to Undergo Critical Manual Handling Test

NASA Advances Blue Origin's Orbital Reef Station Life Support System Development

New strategies for astronaut helmet safety and fire suppression

Spacecraft with first Belarussian woman cosmonaut takes off

Ariane 6 Nears Maiden Flight: Twin Cores Assembled at European Spaceport

Artemis IV Mission Advances with Completion of SLS Payload Adapter Testing

ISRO's RLV-LEX-02 Mission: A Leap Forward in Autonomous Space Vehicle Landing

Benchmark Space Systems achieves orbital deployment of Xantus Electric Propulsion System

A Return to Your Regularly Scheduled Touch-And-Go: Sols 4130-4131

Sun Blob Blues Sols 4134-4135

Curiosity's Encore Journey Along Upper Gediz Vallis Ridge

Bipartisan Congressional call to ensure Mars Sample Return a success

Shenzhou 17 astronauts complete China's first in-space repair job

Tiangong Space Station's Solar Wings Restored After Spacewalk Repair by Shenzhou XVII Team

BIT advances microbiological research on Chinese Space Station

Chang'e 6 and new rockets highlight China's packed 2024 space agenda

Four veteran space industry leaders join Astrobotic as company turn to Griffin-1 project

Dedicated Satellite Set to Broaden Internet Access in Argentina

Intelsat bolsters global connectivity through enhanced Eutelsat Group Partnership

Rivada Space Networks Unveils OuterNET: A Global Communications Revolution

New Study Unveils Inadequacies in Traditional Theories of Van Allen Belts

Sidus Space Revolutionizes Satellite Communication with Advanced 3D-Printed LizzieSat

MatSing Elevates Satellite Communications with Advanced Lens Antenna Technology

Revolutionary Laser Technology Shapes the Future of Space Exploration

Life Detection on Ice Moons Could Be Within Reach, New Study Shows

Unveiling hydrogen's role in life's early energy mechanisms

Loathed by scientists, loved by nature: sulfur and the origin of life

Webb finds ethanol, other icy ingredients for making planets

Hubble's Latest Gaze Reveals Jupiter's Dynamic Weather Patterns

Unlocking the Secrets of Eternal Ice in the Kuiper Belt

NASA Armstrong Updates 1960s Concept to Study Giant Planets

NASA's Europa Jupiter Mission will be packed with humanity's messages

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.