Astronomers from the University of Geneva have concluded in a new study that the Milky Way is chaotic and disorderly in terms of the distribution of the materials and elements that compose it. Gases, powders and metals do not seem to combine in a homogeneous way as established by traditional theories: on the contrary, they follow a random configuration that changes a large part of the established conceptions regarding the evolution of galaxies.
The environment that makes up the Milky Way brings together the metals produced by the stars, the dust particles that have formed from these metals and also the gases from outside the galaxy that regularly enter it, that is, the “virgin gas” that comes from outside and allows the creation of new stars.
Until now, it was thought that all these elements maintained a uniform and somewhat predictable interaction , but the new study collapses this theory and indicates that they behave without following a logical organization, at least according to the schemes established until today.
According to this approach, it would be necessary to completely modify the simulations and postulates about the evolution of the Milky Way . The Swiss study, recently published in the journal Nature, is based on observations of the atmosphere of 25 stars, which were made using NASA’s Hubble telescope and ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT).
SOLAR METALLICITY IN THE MILKY WAY
According to a press release , the current theoretical models considered that the three elements that make up the environment of the Milky Way, that is, metals of stellar origin, galactic dust and gases that come from outside the galaxy, were mixed with a certain logic and reached solar metallicity everywhere in the Milky Way.
Solar metallicity refers to the achievement of a level of chemical enrichment similar to that of the Sun’s atmosphere : it is obtained from the metals that the stars possess, which are turned over to the galactic medium when they reach the end of their life. . Supposedly, this metallicity would have to be uniform throughout the galaxy, with a slight increase in the center, where the stars are most numerous.
According to observations made by scientists, not only is the environment of the Milky Way not homogeneous, but also some of the areas studied account for only 10% of solar metals . This would indicate that currently established models for the formation and development of the Milky Way would be inaccurate.
Why? Basically, because until now it is maintained that during the formation of the Milky Way, more than 10 billion years ago, there were no metals. They came from the contribution of the stars, which gradually enriched the environment with the metals they produced, making it homogeneous in the various sectors of the galaxy.
If this was not the case, as the new study indicates, the concepts about the formation of galaxies, and in particular the Milky Way, would change dramatically. Metallicity levels are known to be key in the formation of stars, cosmic dust, molecules, and planets. Consequently, new stars and planets could be formed from gases with very different compositions. Will this research be the beginning of a new understanding of the dynamics of cosmic structures?