TE24 Sci &Tech Desk:
Many stars in the Universe can be very different from the stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way, by being much heavier, a new study points out.
The research results, published in The Astrophysical Journal, represent a major shift in our understanding of the greater cosmos and have upended previous assumptions about the wider Universe.
While much of the galaxy remains a mystery – in fact, our knowledge of interstellar space, i.e., outside our Solar System, pales in comparison to what we know about the Solar System itself – the distribution of stars and their pasta is something we know well. It was assumed, then, that stars in other galaxies were similar in this respect, writes The Jerusalem Post.
Despite this, most scientists assumed that the mass of stars would differ to some degree between galaxies. It was simply impossible to discover this variation, so the use of a universal model was done out of necessity.
Scientists at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen analyzed in their study about 140,000 galaxies across the Universe and came to the conclusion that stars in distant galaxies are much heavier.
Distant galaxies are difficult to observe from Earth, as are distant stars throughout the galaxy. But there are galaxies that are billions of light years away from us. Therefore, usually only the light of its brightest stars is visible. As such, what we knew about these galaxies was very little.
However, the research was able to make use of Caltech’s Cosmic Evolution Survey (COSMOS) catalog, which contains a massive database of observed light from other galaxies throughout the known Universe.
In their analysis, the scientists concluded that stars in distant galaxies are much more massive than those in the Milky Way.
“Now that we are better able to decode the mass of stars, we can see a new pattern; less massive galaxies continue to form stars, while more massive galaxies cease to create new stars. This suggests a remarkably universal trend in galaxy death.” explained one of the study’s authors, Albert Sneppen.
Larger stars are known to have shorter life spans compared to the Sun. And since more massive stars have shorter lives, this could also impact the frequency of supernovae and black holes. (with Sputnik Brazil agency)
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