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Milky Way Could Be Hurling Its Stars Into Outer Halo, Astronomers Claim

Milky Way may be creating stars in the outer halo by catapulting the particles from explosions of its own dying stars, a recent study published in RAS claimed.

Milky Way

A recent study published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society suggested that Milky Way may be creating stars in the outer halo by catapulting the particles from explosions of its own dying stars. The study further suggested that these particles from a dying star have flung from the center of the Milky Way. The simulations will help in understanding the constant evolution and expansion of our home galaxy. 

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The study

The researchers have found that stellar outflows associated with starburst activity contribute a significant fraction to the stellar halo of each galaxy. These stars form with large positive radial velocities inside powerful galactic outflows, the study said. "These highly accurate numerical simulations have shown us that it's likely the Milky Way has been launching stars in circumgalactic space in outflows triggered by supernova explosions," said James Bullock, dean of UCI's School of Physical Science and one of the authors of the research. 

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According to the study, Galactic outflows are common in the Universe and are crucial for understanding the enrichment of the intergalactic medium and galaxy evolution in general. Molecular outflows with the densities required for star formation are common and there is growing evidence that stars sometimes form in outflows. The authors of the study suggested that star formation may be occurring commonly in galactic outflows but that it has been missed due to inadequate diagnostics. 

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James believes that the simulations show the galactic center is rotating which in turn is throwing stars out of the middle because of its speed. The study also suggested that stellar outflows may also provide a potential source for extreme-velocity or hypervelocity stars. In conclusion, the researchers have introduced the possibility that stellar outflows contribute a non-negligible fraction of stars to the hot, extended stellar haloes of Milky-Way-mass galaxies. 

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(Image Credit: AP)

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