Science-- there's something for everyone

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Why the Milky Way is so big

An artist's impression of our home galaxy - the Milky Way

Our Milky Way galaxy is considered one of the largest galaxies. Terry Bridges of Queen's University in Kingston, Canada. and Duncan Forbes from Swinburne University of Technology in Australia believe they know why. Not only are stars created within the Milky Way, but our galaxy also has a reputation for swallowing other galaxies and pulling in stray stars.

According to the astronomers, as many as a quarter of the stars within the Milky Way did not originate here. They discovered this by determining the relative ages of various stellar objects. One set was determined to be about 12.8 billion years old, and thus must have been created in situ. Other star clusters were found to be considerable younger, and thus arrived on the scene at a later date.