A new paper, published in April in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, details how a galactic merger in our galaxy might have made a star “baby boom” billions of years ago. The research was completed with the help of data gathered by the Gaia satellite of the European Space Agency (ESA). The instrument is specialized in monitoring the positions and velocities of astral bodies throughout the Milky Way.
Scientists say that, during the formative stages of our galaxy, it most likely contained large amounts of gas that eventually served as the prime material for the stars. The new study sheds more light on the situation, making experts see it from a different perspective.
It seems that the young Milky Way’s process of forming stars was extremely slow during its first 4 billion years, until a burst happened, providing the galaxy with a new fresh supply of gas coming from Milky Way’s merge with a satellite galaxy.
Gaia Satellite Data Reveals Details About The Early Stages Of Milky Way
In a statement made on May 8, the team of scientists that worked on the research said that a merger would be the most plausible explanation for the variation in star ages, masses and distances.
Reflecting on the fact that it is known that our galaxy is a product of galactic mergers and is expected to collide with its neighboring galaxy, Andromeda, in a few billions of years, the theory seems more and more realistic.
Down below is an image of the stars referred to by the Gaia satellite to conclude that a starburst took place billions of years ago. According to Roger Mor, a doctoral student in astronomy at the University of Barcelona, scientists that analyzed the data determined that an external cause must have affected the Milky Way 5 billion years ago.