If you want to look at those bright stars thingies in the night sky you may not be able to see what your ancestors saw in the past.
Astronomers, using the Hubble Space Telescope, have measured and characterized an enormous, galaxy-sized cloud of dust and gas, Known as The Smith Cloud, swirling around the Milky Way.
How do astronomers estimate the mass of the Milky Way galaxy? It seems like a simple question, but it is not. Our galaxy consists of roughly 100 billion stars, stretching up to 200,000 light years from edge to edge, wide enough to makes it very difficult to measure.
Billion years ago, galaxies like our Milky Way underwent an era of prolific star formation, churning out stars at a frenzy rate, 30 times faster than they do today.
Our universe is pretty big and so are the secrets which it is wrapping around. One such interesting part of our big universe is Milky Way Galaxy. There are so many hidden secrets about it which you would certainly be surprised to hear.
According to Danish and Australian researchers who used an improved version of a 250-year old theory (The Titius-Bode law), there are billions of the stars in the Milky Way located in the “habitable zone”, where liquid water might exist, and with it, life as we know it.
With the help of the Dark Energy Survey, which includes mapping the southern sky, the astronomers from the University of Cambridge have identified nine dwarf galaxies orbiting the Milky Way making it the largest number ever discovered at once. The latest finding is the first discovery of dwarf galaxies in the last ten years, after dozens of them were found in 2005 and 2006 in the skies above the northern hemisphere.
The Milky Way Galaxy is huge with our small solar system acting as just a grain of sand of the giant beach that is the galaxy. NASA previously estimated that the galaxy spans approximately 100,000 light years across. With each light year representing about 6 trillion miles, we are talking about an almost unimaginable distance.
Thanks to the technology advancements, we are able to unlock the secrets and mysteries of universe which keep on grabbing our attention every now and then. Recently, a multinational team of astronomers led by Dr Stephan Geier from the European Southern Observatory in Garching, Germany, has determined that a hypervelocity star known as US 708 is traveling at about 1,200 km per second.
An amazing new time-lapse video shows the Milky Way, dancing auroras and skies full of stars above stunning locations in areas free of light pollution.
The galaxy is many things. It is very large. It is very confusing. But, what if our galaxy was just one massive wormhole that we could use to travel from one end of the cosmos to another? That might sound like something from Christopher Nolan’s 2014 film, Interstellar, but physicists now think it’s also something that’s very possible.
To a distant observer, our own Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy would probably look very similar. Although Andromeda is longer, more massive, and more luminous than the Milky Way, both galaxies are vast spirals composed of hundreds of millions of stars.