This week we welcome Dr. Marina Kounkel, a postdoctoral scholar in the Physics and Astronomy Department at the Western Washington University. Her research focuses on observing the dynamics of young stars.
Marina is co-author, with Kevin Covey (also from WWU,) of the peer-reviewed study titled “Untangling the Galaxy I: Local Structure and Star Formation History of the Milky Way” published in “The Astronomical Journal” in August 2019. Using a machine-learning algorithm to analyze motion and position data obtained by Gaia for over a billion stars, almost 2000 new star clusters and co-moving groups of stars – Sibling Stars if you will – have been identified, all of which lie within ~3000 light years from us.
In addition, as part of this study, the ages for hundreds of thousands of additional stars have been determined thus allowing star families to be tracked which provides further insight into how these stars have migrated throughout our galaxy. According to Marina, “Around half of these stars are found in long, string-like configurations that mirror features present within their giant birth clouds.” By studying these strings, we may gain insight into how the Milky Way has evolved.
To learn more about Marina, visit her website http://mkounkel.com/
Want to know more about Marina’s study and how these strings can further our understanding of galaxy evolution? Visit https://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Gaia/Gaia_untangles_the_starry_strings_of_the_Milky_Way
The study is also available for download here: https://arxiv.org/abs/1907.07709
The Weekly Space Hangout is a production of CosmoQuest.
Want to support CosmoQuest? Here are specific ways you can help:
- Subscribe FREE to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/cosmoquest
- Watch our streams over on Twitch at https://www.twitch.tv/cosmoquestx – follow and subscribe!
- Become a Patreon of Astronomy Cast https://www.patreon.com/astronomycast
- Become a Patreon of CosmoQuest https://www.patreon.com/cosmoquestx
- Sponsor 365 Days of Astronomy http://bit.ly/sponsor365DoA
If you would like to join the Weekly Space Hangout Crew, visit their site here and sign up. They’re a great team who can help you join our online discussions!
We record the Weekly Space Hangout every Wednesday at 5:00 pm Pacific / 8:00 pm Eastern. You can watch us live on Universe Today, or the Weekly Space Hangout YouTube page – Please subscribe!