Stars Straying Away

Credit: Dana Berry / SkyWorks Digital, Inc.; SDSS collaboration

Scientists with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-III (SDSS) have created a new map of the Milky Way, which provides the first clear evidence that migration of stars occurs throughout our Galaxy. The study, which determined that 30 percent of stars have moved far across the Galaxy, is bringing a new understanding of how stars are formed and travel throughout the Milky Way.

“We were able to measure the properties of nearly 70,000 stars in our Galaxy for this particular study using the innovative SDSS infrared spectrograph,” said Donald Schneider, Distinguished Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State and a coauthor of the study. “This exercise can be described as Galactic archeology. These data reveal the locations, motions, and compositions of the stars, which provide insights into their formation and their history.” Schneider is the SDSS-III survey coordinator and the project’s scientific publications coordinator.

To build a map of the Milky Way, the scientists used the SDSS Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Explorer (APOGEE) spectrograph to observe 100,000 stars during a 4-year campaign. … (Penn State University)

Credit: Dana Berry / SkyWorks Digital, Inc.; SDSS collaboration

Credit: Dana Berry / SkyWorks Digital, Inc.; SDSS collaboration

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