Survey of White Dwarf Stars in the Milky Way Bulge

Survey of White Dwarf Stars in the Milky Way Bulge

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Fast Facts
News release ID: STScI-2015-38
Release Date: Nov 5, 2015
Image Use: Copyright
About this image

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has detected for the first time a population of white dwarfs embedded in the hub of our Milky Way galaxy. The Hubble images are the deepest, most detailed study of the galaxy's central bulge of stars. The smoldering remnants of once-vibrant stars can yield clues to our galaxy's early construction stages that happened long before Earth and our sun formed.

[Left] – This is a small section of Hubble's view of the dense collection of stars crammed together in the galactic bulge. The region surveyed is part of the Sagittarius Window Eclipsing Extrasolar Planet Search (SWEEPS) field and is located 26,000 light-years away.

[Right] – Hubble uncovered extremely faint and hot white dwarfs. This is a sample of 16 out of the 70 brightest white dwarfs spied by Hubble in the Milky Way's bulge. Astronomers picked them out based on their faintness, blue-white color, and motion relative to our sun. The numbers in the inset images correspond to the white dwarfs' location in the larger Hubble view.

Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys made the observations in 2004 and 2011-2013.

Annotated Observations, Galaxies, Milky Way, Stars, White Dwarfs


NASA, ESA, A. Calamida and K. Sahu (STScI), and the SWEEPS Science Team