A team of astronomers while mapping a class of stars called ‘vista’, they discovered an entirely new feature in the Milky Way – a thin disc of young stars across the galactic bulge. This new component to our home galaxy had remained unknown and invisible to previous surveys as it was buried behind thick clouds of dust. Its discovery demonstrates the unique power of the VISTA telescope, which was designed to study the Milky Way’s deep structures by wide-field, high-resolution imaging at infrared wavelengths.
The lead author of this study, Istvan Dékány of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, reports: “This study is a powerful demonstration of the unmatched capabilities of the VISTA telescope for probing extremely obscured galactic regions that cannot be reached by any other current or planned surveys.”
Further investigations are now needed to assess whether these Cepheids were born close to where they are now, or whether they originate from further out. Understanding their fundamental properties, interactions, and evolution is key in the quest to understand the evolution of the Milky Way, and the process of galaxy evolution as a whole.