From the Paranal Observatory
Most primitive stars in the Milky Way were viewed from Chile
The discovery was made with the state-of-the-art Very Large Telescope in the north and international experts considered it to be crucial to the development of astronomy.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Using the Very Large Telescope at the Cerro Paranal Observatory in northern Chile, astronomers from the European Southern Observatory managed to capture images of the most primitive stars in the Milky
Using the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Cerro Paranal Observatory in northern Chile, astronomers from the
European Southern Observatory (ESO) managed to capture images of the most primitive stars in the Milky Way.
According to a communiqué released by the
ESO, which administers the observatory, the discovery entails the
identification of “the oldest stars in our galactic neighborhood, something
crucial to understanding the primitive stars in our Universe.”
These celestial bodies were formed by
material ejected right after the Big
Bang, the great explosion 13.7
billion years ago that experts affirm originated the universe in its current
“They belong to one of the first
generations of stars in the nearby Universe and are very scarce and mainly
visible in the Milky Way,” the institution’s press release states.
In addition, according to the communiqué,
it is believed that the major galaxies like the Milky Way were created from the
merging of smaller galaxies normally located some 300,000 light years apart, equivalent to three times the size of the Milky Way.
Until now it had been very difficult to
track them, but a new work technique made the discovery possible, after taking
advantage of the improved focus capacity to make out the oldest stars, hidden
among common ones.
Thus, once again important milestones in
world astronomy are made from Chile. Previously, Chilean
experts managed to discover an enigmatic supernova and the same telescope was used to capture
the first image of a planet outside the solar system. In order to further boost Chile’s
natural advantages for this sector - clear and open skies - the country hopes
to win the process to build the
biggest telescope in the world.
Likewise, the aforementioned
characteristics make Chile a country that is a particularly advantageous
place for studying this field, either on an undergraduate or