(ORDO NEWS) — In the center of the Milky Way, a place has been discovered where new stars are not born at all.
This space desert stretches for 8000 light years (the length of the galaxy is 100,000 sl). The last stars lit up there over a hundred million years ago.
In 2016, an international team of astrophysicists led by Noriyuki Matsunaga of the University of Tokyo described the galactic wasteland in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society .
There are billions of stars in our galaxy, some of them lit up relatively recently, and some of them are already very old.
One class of young stars, Cepheids, is especially useful to astronomers because Cepheids help measure the distances between stars.
Cepheids pulsate with a very constant periodicity; this makes it possible to measure the frequency of the pulsation and compare it with the brightness of the star; the ratio of these indicators will tell how far the star is from the observer.
Finding Cepheids in the center of the galaxy is not so easy: the clouds of dust and gas that lie between us and the center of the Milky Way and distort the image interfere.
Matsunaga and his colleagues from Germany, Italy and South Africa used an infrared telescope for this. To their surprise, they did not find the Cepheids where they were looking.
Previous studies have reported that there are Cepheids there.
It turned out that in this part of the galaxy there is practically nothing: no stars, no dust and gas. This conclusion is confirmed by the observations of radio astronomers.
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