ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) has observed the central part of the Milky Way with spectacular resolution and uncovered new details about the history of star birth in our galaxy.

Thanks to the new observations, astronomers have found evidence for a dramatic event in the life of the Milky Way: a burst of star formation so intense that it resulted in over a hundred thousand supernova explosions.

“Our unprecedented survey of a large part of the Galactic centre has given us detailed insights into the formation process of stars in this region of the Milky Way,” says Rainer Schödel from the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia in Granada, Spain, who led the observations. “Contrary to what had been accepted up to now, we found that the formation of stars has not been continuous,” adds Francisco Nogueras-Lara, who led two new studies of the Milky Way central region while at the same institute in Granada.

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