Gaia Observatory’s map of the Milky Way reflects the positions and travel times of the stars. By analyzing the map, the scientists discovered that stars change size, swell and contract periodically, but retain their shape and structure.
A detailed structural image of the Milky Way was created from the collected data. Photo: LOFAR
Initially, scientists were only able to detect these changes through variations in the luminosity of the stars. The Gaia Observatory hopes that these important discoveries will help shed light on how the Milky Way has evolved over billions of years.
Timo Prusti, Gaia project scientist, said: “If you look at the sky long enough and have models with a very high degree of accuracy, suddenly that observation opens up all sorts of topics about astronomical events that we couldn’t really predict before.For example, the very small oscillations that we have detected in stars are a very interesting and insightful insight into better understanding the internal structure. This is a very important step towards advancing our understanding of the Milky Way.”