Gaia Telescope Unveils Ancient Star Streams: Shiva and Shakti

Tags: Science and Technology

The Gaia telescope, led by Khyati Malhan, reveals two ancient star streams: Shiva and Shakti.

An Overview of the News

  • These streams were formed over 12 billion years ago and exhibit unique classes and compositions.

  • The discovery, made by the European Space Agency's Gaia telescope, enhances our understanding of the galaxy's origins.

  • Khyati Malhan is from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) in Germany.

Features and Structure:

  • Unique Orbits and Chemical Structures: Gaia identifies two distinct structures, Shakti and Shiva, with distinct orbitals and chemical structures.

  • Mass and age: Each cluster contains about 10 million suns, ranging in age from 12 to 13 billion years, displaying similar orbits and compositions.

Galactic position and origin:

  • Location and formation: Located toward the galaxy's core, these streams originated as separate fragments that merged into one galaxy early in its history, shedding light on the galaxy's formation.

  • Galactic archaeology: Discovery of Gaia reveals the oldest stars in the Galaxy, which predate the formation of the galactic disk, suggesting a complex origin involving filaments of gas and dust.

Symbolism and Naming:

  • Divine Inspiration: Named after the Hindu divine couple, Shiva and Shakti symbolize the creation of the universe, reflecting the distinctive characteristics of stellar streams.

  • Orbital differences: Shakti stars exhibit orbits slightly more distant from the galactic center, featuring more circular paths than Shiva.

Importance and future prospects:

  • Understanding early galaxies: This discovery provides insight into the early evolution of the Milky Way, indicating its origin from long filaments of gas and dust that gave rise to stars and galaxies.

  • Future Insights: Upcoming Gaia data releases may deepen our understanding of these ancient components, aiding research on star clusters, galaxies, and exoplanets beyond the Milky Way.

About Gaia Space Telescope:

  • Mission and operations: Launched in December 2013, Gaia, operated by the European Space Agency, surveys the sky to create a detailed 3D map of the Milky Way.

  • Objectives and Contributions: In addition to mapping the Milky Way, Gaia data informs studies on a variety of astronomical phenomena, including star clusters, galaxies, and exoplanets, furthering our understanding of the dynamics of the universe.

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