The first map of the “galactic underworld”

There is something in Space, there is something in the Universe. And no, we are not talking about alien life forms (long awaited by science fiction fans) but a galactic underworlda part of creation that is found at the bottom, where the human eye had not yet managed to arrive at all.

To put it simply, this underworld, recently mapped from Sydney Institute for Astronomy of the University of Sydney on behalf of Royal Astronomical Societyit is practically a cemetery of stars and celestial bodiesrich in debris and “corpses” resulting from the apparitions of black holes and from the explosions of neutron stars.

The galactic underworld and buried celestial bodies

How was this underworld tracked down? To find out, you need to make a small premise. Space is full of luminous explosions, more or less violent black holes and celestial bodies that collide with each other and shatter. Now, especially when it comes to black holes and explosions involving neutron stars, one triggers uncontrolled reactionwhich causes the involved / nearby parts of the stars to explode as the core continues to compress until it dies out.

What remains are the “star carcasses” which, in some way, given the devastating phenomenon that involved them, they deform space, time and matter that surrounds them. Although, therefore, our Universe is rich in these “buried celestial bodies”, they are located in an interstellar space that, until now, had escaped the sight and knowledge of astronomers. Until now, at least.

The discovery of the cemetery of the Milky Way

For decades, astronomers and scientists had been wondering where these remains of stars and celestial bodies could physically be. Only in the last two years, however, a team of experts led by Professor Peter Tuthill of the Sydney Institute for Astronomy has managed to make a difference, taking advantage of the current state-of-the-art tools of global space agencies and carefully recreating the whole life cycle of the oldest dead stars.

One of the problems Tuthill’s team posed is that the oldest neutron stars and black holes were created when the galaxy was much younger. This means that it had a different shape, prior to the complex changes (lasting billions of years) that transformed it into what it is now. They then applied models from the past to the Milky Way and, in doing so, they were able to build the first detailed map showing where the Milky Way Graveyard [Cimitero della Via Lattea, ndr].

The underworld and our galaxy

The end result, therefore, is a kind of map of a stellar necropolis, which appears particularly suggestive. The underworld is nothing like our own galaxy, as the research team expected. This space graveyard stretches three times higher than the Milky Way and looks more “bloated” due to the kinetic energy of the supernovae, which create a halo of dense gas around the visible Milky Way.

Furthermore, the characteristic spiral arms of our galaxy do not exist in the underworld: they are completely faded due to theage of most of the remains. The most surprising discovery, however, concerns the location of the various remains, which, according to Professor Tuthil, are destined to disappear forever. “The thrust that these corpses received during the explosions – said Tuthill – and the one it still receives from the forces at the borders of the Milky Way seems to move them more and more almost” throwing them out “from the Galaxy to never return them”.

Their detection, however, is a huge step forward: knowing where to look for the stellar remains and learning about the directions of the thrusts, their strength and the various orbits, they will be able to build intricate patterns to learn more about the life cycle of each celestial body in the Milky Way, from its birth to its dispersion, clearly passing through its evolution.

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About Alex Marcell

He likes dogs, pizza and popcorn. Already a fanboy of Nintendo and Sony, but today throws anything. He has collaborated on sites and magazines such as GameBlast, Nintendo World, Hero and Portal Pop, but today is dedicated exclusively to Spark Chronicles.

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