A new study conducted by a team of researchers using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope has found that a hundred thousand supernova explosions have happened in the Milky Way due to a giant burst of star formation.
Exploding Milky Way
Earlier, astronomers believed that star formation in the galaxy was continuous in the central region of the galaxy over the course of years. However, this new study report published in the journal Nature Astronomy suggests that 80 percent of the stars were formed in the central region of Milky Way during the early years of this galaxy.
This rapid star formation apparently happened around eight to 13.5 billion years ago, during the beginning of the universe. A significant drop in star birth happened around six billion years back. However, star birth again gained momentum around one billion years ago, and this phenomenon lasted for 100 million years.
"The conditions in the studied region during this burst of activity must have resembled those in 'starburst' galaxies, which form stars at rates of more than 100 solar masses per year. This burst of activity, which must have resulted in the explosion of more than a 100,000 supernovae, was probably one of the most energetic events in the whole history of the Milky Way," said Francisco Nogueras-Lara, an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany and the lead author of the study in a recent statement.
The discovery of an ancient massive galaxy
A few months back, a study led by Christina Williams, an astronomer at the University of Arizona had discovered an ancient galaxy that might have formed during the beginning of the universe, around 13.5 billion years ago. In their study report, researchers noted this newly discovered ancient galaxy is as large as the Milky Way, but is more active with vigorous star formation.