Tidal tails: The beginning of the end of an open star cluster

In the course of their life, open star clusters continuously lose stars to their surroundings. The resulting swath of tidal tails provides a glimpse into the evolution and dissolution of a star cluster. Thus far only tidal tails of massive globular clusters and dwarf galaxies have been discovered in the Milky Way system. In open clusters, this phenomenon existed only in theory. Researchers have now finally verified the existence of such a tidal tail in the star cluster closest to the Sun, the Hyades. An analysis of measurements from the Gaia satellite led to the discovery.

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