The truth is that we, as human beings, are more concerned with the small things moving around us than the big ones. Here, on Earth, we got accustomed to everything as being normal. But out there, in the Universe, things are changing a lot and they are changing rather fast.
It appears that around 33 percent of the stars born in the Milky Way have moved far, far away from where they have been born according to a new mapping of our little galaxy. Astronomers made this discovery by using the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-III, which identified elements in stars that are quite abundant in other parts of the galaxy.
Donald Schneider, study co-author, described their experiment as “galactic archeology”. It provides information related to the stars’ locations, how they moved and what they are composed of, revealing where they were born and what their history is. Schneider also mentioned that 70,000 stars were studied before the scientists could come to a conclusion.
Stars have some sort of society, to a certain extent. They are born, they die and they have a progressive stellar population. Each population includes heavier elements in their domain and their spectrographic signature is like a ring which indicates a tree’s age. However, stars have a certain chemical fingerprint based on which we can identify where they were born.
So here’s how the experiment worked: researchers mapped around 15 elements found in stars distributed randomly in the galaxy. Then they found out that some stars had chemicals that didn’t belong to the location the star was in, so it meant that the star somehow moved from its original place.
So what caused them to move? Jo Bovy of the Institute for Advanced Study and the University of Toronto explained that these motions are mainly caused by irregularities in the distribution of mass across the galactic disk.
From here on it’s an exercise of imagination. Just like Earth has its round trajectory around the sun, these invisible round trajectories are infinite across the universe. If the mass on one side of the trajectory is too high, one or more stars will migrate away from there. If the mass is too low, stars will migrate towards that place.
It is a fascinating subject that has not been discovered up until this moment and scientists believe that further study will give us more insight as to how the universe works.
Photo Credits dailygalaxy.com