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News Release Archive:

News Release 75 of 948

February 21, 2013 01:00 PM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-2013-07

Stellar Motions in Outer Halo Shed New Light on Milky Way Evolution

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Image: Stellar Motions of Halo Stars in Milky Way

Stellar Motions of Halo Stars in Milky WaySTScI-PRC2013-07 Artist's Concept

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ABOUT THIS IMAGE:

This illustration shows the disk of our Milky Way galaxy, surrounded by a faint, extended halo of old stars. Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope to observe the nearby Andromeda galaxy serendipitously identified a dozen foreground stars in the Milky Way halo. They measured the first sideways motions (represented by the arrows) for such distant halo stars. The motions indicate the possible presence of a shell in the halo, which may have formed from the accretion of a dwarf galaxy. This observation supports the view that the Milky Way has undergone continuing growth and evolution over its lifetime by consuming smaller galaxies.

Image Type: Illustration

Illustration Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI)

Science Credit: NASA, ESA, A. Deason and P. Guhathakurta (University of California, Santa Cruz), and R. van der Marel, T. Sohn, and T. Brown (STScI)