Old stars shed light on young Milky Way | Science News

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Old stars shed light on young Milky Way

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3:40pm, August 10, 2004

Tracing the history of star formation in the Milky Way galaxy, astronomers have turned to the wisdom of the ancients.

Analyzing the composition of 70 of the oldest known stars in the galaxy—the largest such sample so far—scientists have found new evidence that a generation of short-lived stars preceded this elderly population. Moreover, the variation in composition among the old stars suggests that the oldest part of the Milky Way originated not in a single stroke of star formation but in bits and pieces that may have unfolded over several hundred million years.

In research they describe in the Nov. 20 Astrophysical Journal, Debra L. Burris of Oklahoma City Community College and her colleagues examined the abundance

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