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The Milky Way might not have formed through the merger of several
smaller galaxies as previously thought, but by some other unknown
process, a new study suggests.
Until now, the best theoretical models predicted dwarf galaxies beget
larger and larger galaxies, as multiple star packs clumped together or
a heftier galaxy started gobbling up its neighbors.
If this were the case for the Milky Way, Zoccali said, the stars in the
galactic bulge should have once been part of the disk.
Over eons, as more galactic mergers occurred, some of the stars
should be tugged toward the center to form the bulge.
“We have proved that this is not the case,” Zoccali said.
Using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope
(VLT) array in Paranal, Chile, an international team of astronomers,
led by Zoccali, examined the chemical makeup of 50 giant stars in the
direction of the galactic bulge.
They discovered the stars at the center of the Milky Way showed distinct
element amounts compared to the disk stars, a sign that the two galaxy components formed separately.
“In other words, bulge stars did not originate in the disk and then
migrate inward to build up the bulge but rather formed independently of
the disk,” Zoccali said.
Originally posted by masqua
Well...that is interesting, because it totally destroys what I always considered to be the case. In my poorly structured universe, I considered a large black hole to be at the center of our universe, which pulled the stars into the middle.
Stranger and stranger still.
[edit on 18-9-2006 by masqua]