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Mon Feb 11, 2019, 08:31 PM

After a Slow Start, Milky Way's Neighbors Have Upped Their Star-Forming Game

By Nola Taylor Redd, Space.com Contributor | February 11, 2019 12:10am ET

- click for image -

https://img.purch.com/h/1400/aHR0cDovL3d3dy5zcGFjZS5jb20vaW1hZ2VzL2kvMDAwLzA4Mi83NTcvb3JpZ2luYWwvbG1jLXNtYy1sYXMtY2FtcGFuYXMtb2JzLmpwZw==

The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds above Las Campanas Observatory in Chile.
Credit: Ryan Trainor

When it came to churning out stars, the Milky Way's nearest galactic neighbors got off to a slow start. But they're picking up speed now.

By making the first detailed chemical maps of a galaxy beyond our own, scientists found that star formation in the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds has spiked in the recent past, after a lag. The new results not only provide insights into the most abundant type of galaxies in the universe, they also help to improve understanding of the evolution of the Milky Way.

Although the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (LMC and SMC, respectively) lie only 150,000 light-years from the Milky Way right next door, astronomically speaking astronomers have had a hard time studying their composition. [Dizzying Array of Stars Dazzles in New Hubble Photo]

"It's been challenging to map out their full structure," David Nidever, an astronomer at Montana State University, told reporters last month at the 233rd semiannual meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle. Nidever and his colleagues used the Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment 2 (APOGEE-2) survey to obtain precise observations of 5,000 stars in the Magellanic Clouds. By mapping out how heavy elements are distributed through the stars in the galaxy, the astronomers were able to model approximately when generations of stars were born.

More:
https://www.space.com/43248-milky-way-neighbors-increase-star-formation.html?utm_source=notification





Carnegie Las Campanas Observatory in Chile



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