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Astronomers have formed a "revolutionary" galactic map showing the estimated age of 70,000 stars across the Milky Way.
Researchers say it shows how the galaxy is formed in unprecedented detail and that it confirms long-held suspicions that it started in the middle and grew outward.
The map - presented at the 227th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Florida - confirms the long-held theory from the large numbers of old stars gathered in the centre.
"This is somewhat revolutionary because ages have previously been considered very hard to get, particularly from stellar spectra," Dr Ness said. "They're important, but they're difficult.
In the decades since, astronomers and physicists have refined our understanding of black holes and their event horizons, even as we still can only speculate as to what happens past the point of no return where no light travels back towards an observer.
Scientists now believe supermassive black holes lie at the heart of nearly every galaxy in the universe, serving as essential fulcrums upon which the cohesiveness and stability of galaxies rest—allowing for solar systems like our own with planets that can support life.
Astrophysicist Paul Mason of New Mexico State University thinks black holes and supernovae may have actually “set the clock” for the beginning of life, according to Discovery News.
Presenting at Tuesday’s American Astronomical Society gathering, Mason theorizes that in the early, denser universe, cosmic rays produced by black holes and exploding stars bathed galaxies with deadly radiation that made organic life impossible.
But materials expelled by dying stars also became available to aggregate and coalesce into protective shields like the atmosphere and magnetosphere surrounding Earth, while supermassive black holes began anchoring galaxies themselves.
The expansion of the universe also diffused the constant hammering of matter by cosmic radiation, helping create the conditions for life to begin and flourish.
Those bad events include supernovas -- the explosive deaths of very large and short-lived stars -- which were much more common in the early universe, when the rates of stars births was far higher, said Mason.
Other very bad events were the storms of radiation that might have blown from the gigantic central black holes of galaxies when they gulped down matter.
Such feeding frenzies -- and the harsh, sterilizing radiation they released -- were also more common in the past, as astronomers have learned by looking at more distant, and therefore more ancient, galaxies.
originally posted by: FlyingFox
Looking at distant stars does not make them older, as we see them relatively, how they were X number of years ago.