Archive for Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Milky Way galaxy not a slouch after all

January 6, 2009

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— Take that, Andromeda! For decades, astronomers thought when it came to the major galaxies in Earth’s cosmic neighborhood, our Milky Way was a weak sister to the larger Andromeda. Not anymore.

The Milky Way is considerably larger, bulkier and spinning faster than astronomers once thought, Andromeda’s equal.

Scientists mapped the Milky Way in a more detailed, three-dimensional way and found that it’s 15 percent larger in breadth. More important, it’s denser, with 50 percent more mass, which is like weight. The new findings were presented Monday at the American Astronomical Society’s convention in Long Beach, Calif.

A bigger Milky Way means that it could be crashing violently into the neighboring Andromeda galaxy sooner than predicted — though still billions of years from now.

Comments

Kirk Larson 6 years, 3 months ago

"More important, it’s denser, with 50 percent more mass, which is like weight."Ow, it hurts my head when they have to print stuff like the above to compensate for our science illiteracy. Cool story otherwise.

Strontius 6 years, 3 months ago

And this comes on the heels of the discovery that a super massive black hole lies at the galaxy's center. Really cool and exciting stuff happening, despite all the problems in the world.

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