Variables in Via Lactea

Variable stars close to the galactic centreThis image (which is part of the Variables in Via Lactae survey) was captured with ESO’s VISTA infrared survey telescope and shows the central part of the Milky Way. The galactic center is hidden in visible light behind obscuring dust, but the infrared capabilities of VISTA allow to study these stars.

There are several ancient stars of a type known as RR Lyrae. in this view RR Lyrae stars are typically found in ancient stellar populations over 10 billion years old, so this discovery suggests that the center of the Milky Way likely grew through the mergers of primordial star clusters.

Image Credit: ESO

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