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Astronomy | A huge survey of the Milky Way reveals 10 million stars



Even if you have been an astronomer all your life, it is difficult to grasp the ridiculous degree of star systems.

Of course, when you look at the image of almost all galaxies, it looks like a continuous glow, and the distance between the stars is incomparable with the incredible distances of the galaxies involved. They are all blurred together.

Even if we live in the Milky Way, it is almost impossible to grasp the total population of its star family. After all, when you go out at night, you can only see a few thousand stars even in the darkest places. Looking through binoculars will help, but you cannot see a wide field of view, so the number is still limited.

However, sometimes, the appearance of such an image can help. Behold, the vision of the center of our galaxy:

Yes year.

That is a a lot of star. About ten million, acceptable or acceptable.

Our galaxy is a flat disk approximately 1

20,000 light-years wide, with a bulge in the middle spanning approximately 15,000 light-years. The sun and the earth are located in a disk about 26,000 light-years from the center, so we see the bulge from a distance. You can see it in the sky inside Sagittarius. The merged stars there emit a fuzzy, somewhat circular glow.

The image shows the bulge south of the center of the Milky Way-there is less gas and dust between us, so the view is clearer. Astronomers used an amazing dark energy camera (a huge mosaic of more than 650 detectors with a total of 520 megapixels) on the 4-meter CTIO telescope to observe that part of the sky and observe the stars there.

This is a lot of stars, and the image I used here is heavily compressed. The full size TIFF file is 50,000 x 25,000 pixels and weighs more than 3 GB, if you want to poke it. If not, there will be a zoomable/zoomable version online that can give you a better understanding of what you want to view.

The science from this survey is amazing. For example, it is believed that raised stars were born in at least two separate waves early in the history of the Milky Way. However, by observing the colors of about 70,000 stars in the bulge, they can determine that most stars formed at the same time 10 billion years ago. This tells us a lot about the early history of star formation in galaxies.

They also observed several globular star clusters, these clusters are very old collections, they gather together by their own gravity, up to a million stars, and can prove that for some stars, they can easily check the stars. . For example, M22 is a particularly large star cluster that happens to be passing through the galactic disk, and the gravitational force of the Milky Way is stripping stars from the disk. They can see that these stars are far away from the cluster itself, thus gaining insight into the evolution of globular clusters in the near future.

The two published research papers (here and here) have more scientific knowledge, although the point is to show the kind of science that can be done with a large number of stars. This investigation is a platform for future tests that will be carried out by the huge Vera Rubin Observatory. It is clear that these goals will be amazing.

This brings me back to the investigation itself. The picture above? The size of the sky is about 4°x 2°, which is small enough to almost block it with an outstretched thumb.But this is only a small part of the entire survey created, approximately 10°x 20°, which contains 250 million stars.

Two hundred and fifty million.

Even then, it is only a small part of the expanding stars, billions… That is A small percentage of the total number of stars in the Milky Way, possibly as high as 400 billion.This is more than a thousand times the number of stars in the survey, and 40000 Times the number you see in the picture at the top of the post.

Before, I said that this picture can help you understand the number of stars in the Milky Way. Maybe so, by showing a large number of stars in a single image.

But even that Far below the total number of stars in the Milky Way. 400 billion is huge.

I have been looking at the stars for a long time, of which 400 billion stars are far beyond my ability to truly understand. I mean, I can see and understand the number, make calculations based on it, and even use it as a unit of population in the Milky Way.

But indeed grasp it? Do not. My insignificant ape firmly opposed this. This is too big.

…It is one of the two trillion galaxies in the observable universe, some larger and some smaller, and even then, we may only see a small part of the entire universe, most of which are beyond The scope of our observation of the universe expands around us.

This is a big place. It is amazing to think that such an image can help us understand it! But you must start somewhere.


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