Death is only a foregone conclusion of all the natural worlds, but the ever-expanding universe always tends to put our seemingly insignificant lives into perspective. Evidence of its existence will be lost.
In space, death and the physics of dying are a little more subjective than here on Earth. For example, when the sun begins to set, the star will turn red and swell to over 100 times its current size. In its final torment, the star engulfs the inner planets, and the Earth either burns out with the star or freezes from the frigid abyss, unable to keep the star warm. Continuing the theme of cosmic destruction, when the Milky Way galaxy builds up in megaunits by colliding with its neighboring Andromeda galaxy 2.5 million light-years away, the galaxy as we know it is predicted to disappear in about 5 billion more years. Some people do.
But just as bones can live on for years after the death of humans and animals, our slice of the universe leaves its own corpse behind. It’s been years, but new research published in the Royal Astronomical Society’s monthly notice shows exactly where the stars end up in our beloved Milky Way: the galactic underworld.
Essentially a graveyard, Tartarus is home to an eerie array of dead neutron stars and black holes, formed when a supernova explosion ended the life of the once-massive Sun. Although invisible to the naked eye, astronomers have used digital simulations and knowledge of galactic history to model the distribution of ancient stars, paving the way for the first maps of the Milky Way’s final resting places. . “Astronomers have come up with this kind of sophisticated simulation of galaxies and what they might look like,” says David Sweeney, lead author of the study and a PhD student at the University of Sydney. increase. “So he ran one of these simulations to find out where all the stars had disappeared from.”
Peering into the veil, what they found was certainly astonishing.This galactic graveyard contains only about 1% of the total mass of our galaxy, but there is much more to see. have very different distributions and structures than This means that unlike real shadows, they are not perfectly aligned and the structure looks very different at different angles. Oddly enough, this cemetery is much larger than the living twin. In fact, it’s so big that it far outstrips our own Milky Way.
It is natural to ask the exact time of the impending death of the Milky Way. Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell if our galaxy has a human-predictable expiration date, explains study co-author Peter Tuthill, professor of astronomy at the University of Sydney. But, as Tuthill points out, the Milky Way is no longer the chicken of spring.
“The golden age of space is gone,” he says Tuthill. “The galaxy we are in today is behind what astronomers consider to be the great age of star formation.” It’s still forming new stars, but the rate at which they spawn is steady. is dropping to , a sure sign that we’re slowing down… but we’re certainly on our way. But scientists are confident that at least part of the original galaxy may still be alive — about 30% of the dead.
d Neutron stars in the underworld of the Milky Way will eventually be ejected into intergalactic space and headed for a brand new star system, says Sweeney.
Tuthill adds that current maps made by astronomers are purely statistical. It can only give astronomers an idea of where to find these dead stars, but it hasn’t yet been able to help scientists pinpoint individual objects and their exact locations within the underworld. As he says, “I found a map of the cemetery, but I don’t know where the grave is.”