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The Milky Way's Bulge: From a Hypothesized Blob to a Remarkably Detailed Picture

Presented by: David Nataf (Johns Hopkins University)
Category: Education and Outreach   Duration: 1 hour and 10 minutes   Broadcast date: July 03, 2018
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The central bulge of our Milky Way galaxy is host to roughly 30 percent of its stars, including a substantial fraction of both the oldest stars and the most metal-rich stars. The ages of the stars indicate that some formed via hierarchical collapse early in the universe, while most formed later on, due to dynamical processes within the disk. The differences in chemical abundances among the stars may have effects on the formation of planets and the eveolution of life. Astronomers’ understanding and characterization of the Milky Way bulge creates a relatively complex picture, but it is as yet incomplete to explain all the features.