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Young stars found in the center of Milky Way

Young stars found in the center of Milky Way - Astronomers using the VISTA telescope at European Southern Observatory (ESO's) Paranal Observatory have discovered a previously unidentified component of the Milky Way.

By mapping out the locations of a class of stars that vary in brightness called Cepheids, a disc of young stars buried behind thick dust clouds in the central bulge has been found.

The ESO's VISTA telescope - which can cut through the thick dust of the galaxy using infrared - collected pictures meant to capture these and other variable stars, and the researchers found their bright young things by assessing several years of the data.

The researchers found 655 Cepheids and they were surprised to note that 35 of them were so-called classical Cepheids - a subtype of young stars. They were even more surprised when they mapped the young stars and realized that they were forming a disk feature across the center bulge of the Milky Way.

Dante Minniti of the Universidad Andres Bello, the study's second author, said all of the 35 classical Cepheids discovered are less than 100 million years old.

Minniti further added that the youngest Cepheid might even be only around 25 million years old, although we cannot exclude the possible presence of even younger and brighter Cepheids.

The research has been published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.