Planet Talk

Redefining the Age of Stars in the Milky Way Galaxy

As I was doing some light reading, I came across some fascinating new evidence about the formation of the Milky Way, redefining our knowledge of creation. Researchers just found new methods to identify precise ages for stars within our galaxy, specifically about a hundred of red giant stars in the galaxy. New methods of achieving precise ages include asteroseismology, in which the internal structure of stars are probed and researched thoroughly through the study of oscillations. This discovery, made by the researchers at Ohio State University pointing out the age differences of stars in the Milky Way, is important, as it shapes the way we look at the Milky Way’s merge with Gaia-Enceladus nearly 10 billion years ago. Gaia-Enceladus (also known as Gaia Sausage) was an orbiting satellite galaxy, which has now been reduced to meager remains. New evidence shows astronomers that even before the merge between Gaia-Enceladus and the Milky Way galaxies, “the Milky Way had already formed a large population of its own stars,” said Fiorenzo Vincenzo, who co-authored the study within Ohio State University. It was found due to this discovery that the original stars were pushed to the center of the galaxy, while those that arose from the merge with Gaia-Enceladus remain on the outside till this day. Interestingly enough, scientists noticed that the majority of “original” stars were significantly older than those from the merger and changed their orbits as a result of the collision, making them more eccentric. Other differences between the stars of different ages and origins include different chemical compositions. The chemical composition differences were determined using a spectroscopic survey, called APOGEE, used to collect infrared spectra. According to the researchers of this project, this is just the beginning… and the scientists plan to apply this process of age-dating individual stars to larger samples of stars, and to “include even more subtle features of the frequency spectra,” Vincenzo said, claiming that this innovative process will “lead to a much sharper view of the Milky Way’s assembly history and evolution, creating a timeline of how our galaxy developed.”

For more information, check out the following websites: and (where the results of the study were published!)

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