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'Never-Before-Seen Disc Of Stars' Discovered In Milky Way

Update Date: Oct 31, 2015 01:15 PM EDT
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An amazing novel component of the Milky Way that was not known previously has been discovered by scientists. Through the VISTA telescope  at the Paranal Observatory, scientists take multiple images at different times in the "central parts of the galaxy at infrared wavelengths", according to the European Southern Observatory.

While the telescope has found a number of new objects such as exploding stars, this discovery has raised the maximum number of excitement.

"The central bulge of the Milky Way is thought to consist of vast numbers of old stars. But the VISTA data has revealed something new -- and very young by astronomical standards!" said Istvan Dékány, lead author of the new study.

Hence, 655 "candidate variable stars", of the Cepheids type have been found in the Vista data. These stars show fluctuations as well as variations in brightness. There are brighter Cepheids that take more time to "brighten and fade" compared to the dimmer ones. Some Cepheids are older and some are younger. Thirty-five of the stars were part of a sub-group called "classical Cepheids", which are "young and bright".

Scientists are using the knowledge to map the locations of objects. A new disc of young stars across the galactic bulge has been revealed.

"All of the 35 classical Cepheids discovered are less than 100 million years old. The youngest Cepheid may even be only around 25 million years old, although we cannot exclude the possible presence of even younger and brighter Cepheids," said the study's second author Dante Minniti, of the Universidad Andres Bello, Santiago, Chile.

It is now clear that the central region of the Milky Way has been producing new stars over the last 100 million years.

"This part of the galaxy was completely unknown until our VVV survey found it!" Minniti concluded.

The findings were published in a recent edition of the Astrophysical Journal Letters of the Milky Way.

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