Heavy metal

Look: Ruins of an ancient star cluster reveal secrets of the early Milky Way

It’s been part of our galaxy since the dawn of time.

Gabriel Pérez Díaz, SMM (IAC)

NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC/Caltech)

While the bulk of the Milky Way spins in an unmistakable spiral, wispy trails of stars find their own orbit around the galaxy’s center.

Known as star streams, these ribbons of light are remnants of the early galaxy.

Billions of years ago, they were organized in globular clusters that held some of the first materials that formed the Milky Way.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC/Caltech)