The Milky Way's Center Contains A Star Desert

There's a place in our galaxy where no new stars are born. In a paper for the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, University of Tokyo researchers reported that a massive portion of the Milky Way's Extreme Inner Disk contains almost zero young stars, meaning that the area hasn't produced new stars for potentially hundreds of millions of years. The researchers discovered this fact when they were searching for Cepheids, a type of super-young star that's easy to detect based on its predictable pulsation pattern. Because that pattern makes it easy for astronomers to estimate their age and distance, Cepheids are a great way for us to learn more about the formation of our galaxy. When they looked for Cepheids in the inner Milky Way, however, they came up virtually empty. An expanse extending 8,000 light years from the galaxy's center is essentially a "stellar void," containing virtually no Cepheids at all. This new discovery about our stellar home is one more step in learning all there is about the Milky Way. Explore what we do know about our galaxy in the videos below.

What Part Of The Milky Way Can You See?

What part of our galaxy forms that band across the night sky?

Mapping The Stars Of The Milky Way

Find out how astronomers explore our galaxy.

Written by Ashley Hamer August 15, 2016

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