A map of the "underworld" of the Galaxy appeared: on it are all the "star corpses" of the Milky Way

Astronomers have created the first map of the "galactic underworld". On it are the "corpses" of once massive stars,

who were born in the Milky Way. They have since evolved into black holes and neutron stars.

“The height of the galactic “underworld” is three times that of the Milky Way itself,” the scientists write. “At the same time, 30% of the objects were completely ejected from their native galaxy.”

The point cloud is a top and side view of the galactic "underworld" of the Milky Way.
Credit: University of Sydney

Neutron stars and black holes form whenmassive stars - eight times the size of the Sun - run out of fuel and suddenly collapse. This sets off an uncontrolled reaction that rips the star's outer shell apart in a giant supernova explosion. In doing so, the core continues to shrink on its own until - depending on its initial mass - it becomes either a neutron star or a black hole.

Clouds of the visible part of the Milky Way, top and side view.
Credit: University of Sydney

Neutron stars have a core so dense thatelectrons and protons are forced to combine at the subatomic level into neutrons, compressing the total mass of the object into a sphere smaller than a city. If the mass of the original star is 25 times that of our Sun, gravity continues to collapse until the core is so dense that not even light can escape. Both types of stellar "corpses" distort space, time and matter around them.

Colored top and side view of the visible part of the Milky Way galaxy.
Credit: University of Sydney

By painstakingly recreating the full life cycle of ancient dead stars, researchers have created the first detailed map showing where their "corpses" lie.

A colored top and side view of the galactic "underworld" of the Milky Way.
Credit: University of Sydney

“One of the challenges in finding these ancient objectsis that, until now, we had no idea where to look,” explains Peter Tuthill, professor at the Sydney Institute of Astronomy, co-author of the study. “The oldest neutron stars and black holes appeared when the galaxy was younger and had a different shape, and then underwent complex changes spanning billions of years. Modeling all of this to find dead stars was a big challenge."

Newly formed neutron stars and black holescorrespond to the modern galaxy, so astronomers know where to look for them. But the oldest objects of this type are like ghosts that still haunt a long-destroyed house, making them harder to find, the scientists explain.

Split image. The visible part of the Milky Way galaxy compared to its galactic "underworld".
Credit: University of Sydney

Researchers have developed sophisticated models thathelped them understand where stars were born, died, and where they moved as the galaxy evolved. Ultimately, a map of the "star necropolis" of the Milky Way appeared.

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