Dead Stars Were Uncovered at the Center of the Milky Way

Thanks to some new images taken by Australian astronomers with the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky MWA Survey (GLEAM), the scientist spotted 27 dead stars that exploded in supernovae thousands of years ago.

27 dead stars discovered at the center of our galaxy

The astronomers, led by Dr. Natasha Hurley-Walker, from the Curtin University, part of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), managed to make the images captured by GLEAM with the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in Perth.

“Our photos are directly watching at the core of the Milky Way, towards an area which astronomers call the galactic center,” Dr. Natasha Hurley-Walker said. “It’s the capability of this wide wavelength range, which makes it feasible for us to untangle complex overlapping objects as we look toward the complexity of the galactic center,” the researcher added.

After analyzing the images, the scientists spotted 27 dead stars at the center of the Milky Way. The stars were measuring by eight times more than the Sun before they exploded in supernovae at the end of their life cycle that occurred about thousands of years ago. One of the stars is exceptional in comparison with the others because it is located far away from the plane of the Milky Way.

“The discovery is the remains of a star that died nearly 9,000 years ago – meaning the blast could have been seen by Indigenous people across Australia that time,” Hurley-Walker added.

An improved instrument for better understanding of the Milky Way and Universe

MWA Survey is the predecessor of the improved telescope that would be installed in Australia in 2021 – the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). This one would be the largest telescope in the world, and it would be able to “see” distant supernovae.

“SKA’s low-frequency, which will be built at the same site as the MWA, will be thousands of times more sensitive and have a much better resolution to detect thousands of supernova remnants that formed in the last 100,000 years, even on the other side of the Milky Way,” Dr. Hurley-Walker explained.

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