Mapping our galaxy’s formation and evolution would be pretty easy if stars just stayed in their birthplaces, but unfortunately that’s not the case.

The Milky Way’s vast pool of stars is constantly expanding outward, getting knocked out of their orbits, and generally evolving alongside our galaxy. Sure, this makes for an exciting stellar journey, but these gradual movements make it difficult to pinpoint a star’s origins and track our galactic history.

However, a team of researchers has found a way to peer into a star’s past and identify where in the galaxy it was born.

By figuring out the ages and chemical abundances of our stellar population, researchers would be able to piece together the Milky Way’s past and possibly predict its future.

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