Hatched and despatched

Around six new stars are born every year in our Milky Way, astronomers have calculated.
But one old star in the galaxy explodes in a brilliant supernova every 50 years or so – and we are overdue for another.
The birth and death rate for our neck of the universe was calculated by an international team led by Roland Diehl of Germany’s Max Planck Institute.
They based their findings on results from a European satellite called Integral that monitors gamma rays being emitted across space.
About 90 percent of gas which was in our Milky Way billions of years ago has now been converted into stars, the astronomers say.
Some stellar explosions may have gone unnoticed because they happened behind dense clouds of dust in the galaxy.

Paul Sutherland

Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.
Paul Sutherland

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Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.

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