Milky Way: average stellar birth rate

Milky Way: average stellar birth rate.


Researchers have examined the lost gas clumps, clumps, and dust that pervade the Milky Way. Then they measured their mass. In practice, a new analysis of data collected by the Herschel satellite has estimated the star formation of the Milky Way. On average, it produces new stars twice the mass of the Sun each year. A medium active galaxy.

First, estimating the star formation rate of the Milky Way allows us to make comparisons between it and other galaxies. Secondly, it allows us to address a long-standing dilemma in galactic astrophysics, namely the fact that the observed rate of star formation, of a few solar masses per year, is rather small compared to the amount of matter available. Producing an updated estimate of this quantity therefore provides a reference point for colleagues who seek to explain this unexpected behavior theoretically.

Davide Elia, INAF researcher in Rome and first author of the new study

It is not easy to measure the rate at which a galaxy produces new stars . It depends on the mass of cold gas available and the quantification of its activity in star formation. After selecting more than 150,000 clumps where new stars are being born, it was possible to estimate the mass fraction that will be converted into stars. Also, the time it takes for that to happen. 


This method made it possible to map the star formation rate in the galactic plane. 84% of the Milky Way’s star formation rate is contained within the orbit of the Sun around the galactic center. 16% outside it. Calculating the star formation rate of the Milky Way allows us to compare it to other galaxies. This also allows zone-by-zone mapping of the global star formation  rate.


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